Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Franchia - 12 Park Avenue (34th/35th) (Korean - Vegan)
A nice little gem in the center of midtown, Franchia is primarly a teahouse (as is obvious from their website, filled with tons of tea related links, including the history of tea, health benefits, yada yada yada.) But if that was all, it probably never would have made the annuals of Gaijin Girl. Sure, tea's nice. But I ain't payin' the big bucks for it.

Thing is, Franchia's also vegan. Korean-Fusion in flavor, Franchia offers a decent selection of vegan rolls...more than your average sushi joint. Nicely prepared, offerings include spicy "tuna" roll, "shrimp" avocado roll, "chicken" sate...you get the idea. Artfully presented, and looking pretty much like the real thing, Franchia's rolls provide a nice change from the limited vegan fare available from your neighborhood sushi-ya. Other options include dumplings, noodles, Bibimbap, and even a few neat cocktails. The space is also pretty classy - perfect for an elegant date, or a special occasion.

All that said, Franchia is a little on the pricey side (my dumpling and two roll order ran me $20. Though granted, I *do* tend towards cheap.) As for the taste? Good. Not howlingly great - the rice in my rolls lacked the vinegared flavor of my regular joint, Sushi Time...and the kimchi dumplings had very little kick. But as a vegan, it was nice to look onto the plate and see something more substantial than a sad, cucumber maki roll and a lump of artificial wasabi. So Franchia gets a thumbs up... Was it worth a visit? Yes. But will it replace Sushi Time as my personal stand-by, in terms of flavor or value? Not at those prices... But it's nice to know it exists.

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