Restaurant Review- Berben and Wolff’s Vegan Delicatessen
Berben and Wolff’s is the gustatory brain child of Joey Berben and Max Wolff. It is located at 227 Lark Street in Albany, New York. It is also currently less than 1/2 mile from my apartment, and yes that means I eat it weekly or biweekly. I mean, why not?
When you walk up the stairs and into their cafe you are greeted with a nice mix of retro inspired decor (hello my fav!), fun toys (hi Pee Wee Herman!), and a lil punk. The walls are aqua colored and covered in pictures, guitars, and other fun stuff! Everyone that works there is incredibly nice and dedicated, and I always feel welcome walking in.
From their website:
“From simpler beginnings as vegan food manufacturers and distributors, Joey Berben and Max Wolff have been dedicated to bringing creative and delicious vegan options to the people of the Capital Region since 2015. After just one year of positive reception and recognition, an entirely vegan deli in their home city of Albany, NY was already in high demand. Opened in 2016, Berben & Wolff’s prides itself on creativity, quality, and ethical consumption. With an evolving menu of classics and specials, Berben & Wolff’s is constantly striving to expand their culinary knowledge and expertise. Whether you’re in the mood for a familiar favorite or for something new, they’re sure to please.”
The current menu consists of sandwiches made to order (most of which can be made gluten free if needed), a deli case featuring salads and sides, daily specials-both made to order and premade, and a dessert case (some treats are gluten free). They also make their own seitan wings every Wednesday.
I can’t eat gluten so I have not tried a fair amount of their items but they look delicious. I kind of go through phases of what I get, but mostly stick to the tempeh chickpea salad sandwich (add cheese so it’s like a melt!) or the breakfast sandwich. Both are delicious, but I think the breakfast sandwich really has my heart. It’s ooey and gooey with a house made cheese sauce and Daiya vegan cheese covering (or smothering!) layers of vegan egg (Follow Your Heart) and vegan ham (May Wah brand) with a thin layer of greens toasted to perfection. The tempeh chickpea salad sandwich features chunks of tempeh and mashed chickpea mixed with roasted garlic thyme mayo and makes my tummy happy. I have also had the sunflower burger and it is a delicious house made sunflower seed and veggie burger topped with caramelized onions, tomato, greens, and mayo. I have liked everything I have gotten there so far. My husband seems to gravitate towards the breakfast sandwich or the philly cheesesteak which has deli sliced seitan. If you can eat gluten I highly suggest trying their seitan since it is how they got their start! My husband loves it and he is a seitan aficionado.
The specials are usually very inventive and delicious but I’m such a routine loving person that I tend to stick with the same old stuff. However, I have had two specials that I loved and can’t wait til they bring them back. One was these super fresh veggie and tofu spring rolls with a delicious ginger dipping sauce. The other was the curried chicken gyro which has curried soy curls, greens, red onions, and house made tzatziki sauce (which I could have drank it was so good). The gluten free wrap option for that was amazingly soft and moist and I keep forgetting to find out where they got it from. (Just a hint guys I think that wrap would make yummy gf/vegan quesadillas.) This wrap was so good that I ate it twice in one week. They’ve also had fun specials like the tofu bahn mi, the barbecutioner (burger with onion rings!) , and carolina bbq sliders with a housemade beet/walnut/quinoa patty!
The baked goods look beautiful and taste good. There is sometimes a gluten free chocolate peanut butter cake that is pretty good and I have had a chocolate mocha cupcake that was yummy. I am definitely a dessert snob, and I fully acknowledge that. With that being said, I do enjoy the treats here but they are on the sweeter side as opposed to the more decadent side (strong chocolate or pb flavor) for my own personal tastes. That definitely means that they will appeal to the masses though because they are geared towards more traditional dessert lovers!
Berben and Wolff’s is a really great addition to the vegan scene in Albany and definitely has something for everyone, even if you’re not vegan! It’s just great food that happens to be vegan. Go NOW!
Location: 227 Lark St, Albany, NY
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10-8pm, Sunday 10-3pm
Phone number: (518) 599-5306