Vegetarian Delights of NYC: Western Tofu Sandwich at Black Shack

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Black Shack may be a carnivore's playground, but that doesn't mean that the newly opened Midtown burger joint doesn't have any love to show for herbivores coerced there by meat-loving friends or would-be tormentors. For them, the Shack's Jeff Maslanka has concocted what he described as "big, sloppy" tofu sandwiches.

The Western Tofu Sandwich ($4.75) is indeed a sloppy affair: A grilled slab of tofu, sliced thin, is smothered with barbecue sauce, garnished with bread and butter pickles, then buried under a snowfall of fried onions. The whole concoction is transported to the gullet by way of a squishy sesame seed bun. It's roll-in-the-gutter vegetarian food, a cheerfully dirty diversion that requires the assistance of at least two napkins. The tofu is almost superfluous -- fried onions, barbecue sauce, and pickles would taste good if they were served on a piece of Tyvek -- but provides a sturdy yet pliant foundation for the other components to frolic upon. It may not be enough to woo the meat eaters away from their burgers, but vegetarians may end up calling it the Best Western in Midtown. 320 Lexington Avenue (between 38th and 39th streets)



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