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Heart and Soy:
Louisville's Vegan Vietnamese Restaurant

Heart and Soy is the less formal and slightly less expensive sister restaurant to Roots, which is next door. The two locations actually even share a nice, clean, zen style bathroom.

The restaurants are located on Bardstown Road, which is one of the more fun and energetic areas of the city.

I had no trouble finding street parking down a quiet side street right near the restaurant.

You can see the clean, modern lines of the inside of the restaurant with the open-air kitchen, dark wooden pub tables, and an easy system where you order at the counter and then your food is brought to your table when it's ready.

What I love about both restaurants is that they make their own tofu, soymilk, and other soy products from locally grown soybeans. I normally stay pretty far away from fried tofu in Asian restaurants because I feel like the tofu gets so fried that the inside hollows out and you get a tiny box of grease. Not my favorite; but at Heart and Soy the tofu was fresh and delicious.

I had the Pho noodle soup, primarily because I spent many years as a teenager watching my friends eat the classically beef based soup and wondering why no one could put together a vegetarian option. This version was really good; with fresh spring onions, a few cabbage type veggies, nice rice noodles, and their signature tofu, sliced and slightly fried, in place of the meat in the original dish.

heart and soy

Another thing I normally never eat is fried egg rolls. Typically they end up tasting like a tube of grease (so now you have a tube and a box of grease... yum) with a tiny bit of vegetables on the inside. I really liked Heart and Soy's vegan egg rolls.

They were perfectly cooked, which means you cannot taste the oil at all. And, on the inside they were stuffed with vegetables and mushrooms.

You can pick from a variety of drinks and homemade desserts in their refrigerated section. I was really intrigued by a soft tofu pudding with a sweet ginger syrup that you mix into it.

They also had vegan banana bread, muffins, a few slices of cake, and peach, banana, or mango tapioca pudding. I tried the mango and thought it was light and refreshing, perfect to cap off my meal. They make it with tapioca balls, fresh chunks of fruit, coconut milk, and sugar.

Overall, I really enjoyed my lunch and the atmosphere at the restaurant. They have huge windows that open directly onto the sidewalk, which gives the whole restaurant a nice, airy feel. I did have an issue with a group of bees swarming my sweet-and-sour sauce, but I kept them happy and away from stinging me by surrendering the sauce to the end of the table.

I was pleased to see a good flow of people making their way in and out of the restaurant at lunchtime, and heard a few groups bringing friends and educating on menu items with phrases like, "the egg rolls are to die for," and, "you absolutely have to try the..."

I hope Heart and Soy is around for the long haul.

› Heart and Soy

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