Vegan General Tso's chicken at Marrygold, a new vegan Asian...

Vegan General Tso's chicken at Marrygold, a new vegan Asian fusion spot in Wantagh. Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

On a recent afternoon, Erin Ho sat in the dining room of her new restaurant, Marrygold, dreaming of a Wantagh future for her children.

“I said to them, ‘If we do good, maybe we can get a small house so you can go to school here, and then there’s less traveling time and you can sleep more.’ ”

For now, however, Ho and her husband, Kenny, will continue to spend hours shuttling the couple’s three children (ages 6, 10 and 14) back and forth from their home and schools in New York City to the small eatery the family opened in October that sits in the shadow of the Wantagh LIRR station in a space formerly occupied by Thai Coconut. As Ho put it, everything she’s dreamed of will depend on how well things go. And how well things go will have much to do with the success of their new vegan Asian fusion restaurant and, crucially, Wantagh’s receptivity to the very idea.

From the start, Marrygold was 80% vegan and 20% vegetarian, a ratio that nonetheless raised the hackles of some vegans. “So I rethought things and I changed the whole menu,” Ho said. She switched out yakisoba for the egg noodles in some dishes, subbed desserts like mango sticky rice for yuzu cheesecake and mochi ice cream. “We’re now 90% vegan and counting,” she added, vowing to reduce her vegetarian footprint even further in the days to come.

The food at Marrygold bears watching. The pineapple fried rice ($15.95) is a hearty mix of raisins, peas, carrots, peanuts and slivers of soy and wheat-based proteins ("I feed it to my daughters because they can’t scoop out what they don’t like,” Ho laughed). A plate of glossy General Tso’s ($16.95) features faux-chicken, but then General Tso’s is faux-Chinese too, so you hardly mind. The vegan drumsticks ($7.50 for three) were better than some from actual fried chicken places, and the Tom Kha soup ($8) comprised a heavenly blend of coconut milk, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and non-chicken nuggets.

So far, Ho said the community appears receptive, or at least teachable.

“One guy came in, saw the menu and said, ‘No real meat??’ ” said Ho, imitating the man’s reaction of disgust. No, she replied. “How about the shrimp pad thai?” he continued. “Is it not real shrimp?”

Ho shook her head. “You can at least try it,” she told the man, eventually selling him on a to-go lunch of pad thai chicken. Not long after, he phoned her.

“I just ordered a lunch there,” Ho recalled him saying as she braced for a complaint. “I just wanted to tell you that it’s really good. And I’ll be back.”

Marrygold, 3266 Railroad Ave. in Wantagh, 516-900-1168, marrygoldny.com. Open Monday 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Tuesday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Friday 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Saturday noon to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9:30 p.m.

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