At first glance, the Marlowe reuben could easily pass for non-vegan: The beet-brined seitan looks like cured beef, and the vegan Thousand Island dribbling down the rye doesn’t hint at being made from chickpea juice. And at first bite, though it’s obvious there’s no meat on this sandwich, the pickled sauerkraut and salty, red-hued seitan combined between bread truly mimic the original.
Carlton wouldn’t know that though; she didn’t conduct any taste tests with the non-vegan original sandwiches. “No, no, gross!” she laughs at the thought of trying beef. Still, she thinks her beef-like creations may help recent veggie converts acclimate to their new meat-free life.
“Particularly for new vegans, this is the place,” Carlton emphasizes. “You can see that being a vegan isn’t that hard!”
The Kubersky sisters believe New Yorkers aren’t as timid about eating vegetarian, vegan food, and imitation meats as they once were, even as old veggie-fueled stalwarts like Angelica Kitchen leave town. “[Vegan options] are definitely getting fancier,” Erica says. “It’s going in a more gourmet direction, which is great, but we want to be a place where you can eat everyday.”