Taylor Gourmet introduced its new menu this morning, and aside from bringing back breakfast sandwiches, the local chain also added one surprising new option: The Lehigh Avenue, a vegan sandwich with roasted cauliflower, spicy red-pepper dressing, white bean hummus and arugula.
Immediately, I was reminded of the cauliflower sandwich at Mike Isabella's G, where the vegetarian sammy is stuffed with roasted cauliflower, romesco (effectively an, ahem, spicy red-pepper sauce), pickled veggies and arugula. That sounds like a challenge, Taylor, so we decided to compare the two in a cauliflower hoagie throwdown.
Taylor's Lehigh Avenue
Vegetarians may want to take a moment to mourn the departure of Taylor's broccoli rabe-filled Spring Garden and eggplant parmesan offerings, but we're excited to see Taylor make room for a vegan option, and this is a pretty good one, albeit a little messy to eat. Available for $6.90 ($9.90 for a large), the sandwich's florets are more tart and pickled-seeming than roasted as the menu suggests. In fact, it's a cold hoagie. A noticeable kick comes from the red-pepper sauce and hummus, which also serve to keep this sandwich from being too dry, which was a sore point for this Spring Garden fan. Bonus points should be awarded for the fact that the original and wheat bread are both vegan.
G's roasted cauliflower sandwich
Since opening in July, Isabella's 14th Street sandwich shop has been winning raves for its smoky cauliflower option ($8), and I'll admit to being a fan of this greasy, complex sandwich. The menu describes the veggies as roasted and, indeed, the cauliflower is just shy of blackened. Unlike Taylor's version, the sandwich is served warm on bread that's a tad softer, with its arugula wilted and its romesco not quite as spicy as Taylor's. It's more complex, with dill and parsley, garlic butter and an array of crunchy pickled vegetables hidden inside. It's just ... extraordinary.
The final verdict
They're similar, but not doppelgangers. Taylor's is crunchier, spicier; G's is heady, herbaceous. Vegetarians will rejoice at either option, but the bread at G isn't vegan, so vegans looking for a giant veggie sandwich should head for Taylor Gourmet.