We were thrilled to hear about the opening of Pickle Shack in Gowanus, from Seamus Jones of Brooklyn Brine — and not just because we love Brooklyn Brine’s pickles. Or because they’ve got a number of Dogfish Head beers on tap. No, we’re excited because the menu is entirely vegetarian … and sounds absolutely delicious, with avocado-lime-cucumber and cashew butter-banana sandwiches and beer-battered oyster mushrooms. So often, vegetarian restaurants are all mock-meats and lifeless salads. But, as we were reminded with the opening of Pickle Shack, vegetarian fare doesn’t have to be unexciting; here are five inexpensive spots in New York City that do veg food right.
This charming Ditmas Park restaurant is famous for its hummus, of course: brightly flavored, ethereally creamy, and downright addictive. Get it topped with whole chickpeas or with cumin-stewed mushrooms–and for the non-vegetarians among you, there’s the unlikely-sounding “meat hummus” with ground beef and pine nuts. Don’t miss the vegetable sides, including a tahini-laden cauliflower and a fresh beet salad. 1209 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn,718-284-4444, mimishummus.com
The above-mentioned Pickle Shack, launching its full menu on Monday, will feature Brooklyn Brine pickles, of course. But its menu stretches far beyond that, with tantalizing-sounding vegan and vegetarian sandwiches (maple-smoked tofu with barrel-aged caraway sauerkraut) and sides (fried “hop pickles” with preserved lemon aioli). To drink, a wide selection of beers from Dogfish Head, who’ve long collaborated with Brooklyn Brine on those Hop Pickles. The full menu will launch on Monday. 256 Fourth Ave., Brooklyn, pickleshacknyc.com
Late-night junk food spots aren’t generally vegan-friendly. That’s why Foodswings (in Williamsburg, natch) is such a rare find, its menu laden with “cheese fries” and “milkshakes” — all 100 percent vegan. Sandwiches, nachos, a personal pizza — anything you could want after a night out. 295 Grand St., Brooklyn, 718-388-1919, foodswings.net
Also known as “Maimonide of Brooklyn,” this offshoot of a Parisian restaurant bills itself as “avant-garde vegetarian food for all.” What that means: topped flatbreads (black bean puree, pimento sweet potatoes, grilled corn) and crimini mushroom burgers, or “Mac and Cheese” with cashew cream and truffle oil. 525 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-797-2555, mob-usa.com
The best falafel in New York started out as a hole-in-the-wall West Village shop and has grown into a second location and a roving food truck. What makes Taïm the best? Three flavors of falafel, all fried to order; fresh salads; luscious, creamy hummus; fluffy, warm pita. Mamoun’s may be a few bucks cheaper, but trust us: It’s worth the upgrade. Multiple locations, taimfalafel.com