BB Guide for Every Eater

By

Juice at the V Spot

Maybe you’ve suffered a pang of conscience and have sworn off eating meat. Or maybe you’ve been diagnosed with Celiac’s disease and have to stick to a gluten-free diet, or are taking a month off booze and cheese and swapping it out for yoga and a macrobiotic diet. Whatever your reason, if you’re avoiding certain foods, dining out can become a daunting experience.

You don’t have to be a shut-in, or sit at dinner sipping tea while everyone else chows down if you have a restricted diet, at least not in Brooklyn. We live in a borough that not only emphasizes diversity and quality in its cuisine but also is sensitive to those more judicious about what they eat. Below are our picks for a range of dietary restrictions ranging from vegan to gluten-free to kosher, with a special section for restaurants that will please the dietary conscious while satisfying more indulgent diners.

Vegetarian
Fast service and flavorful fare are what you’ll find at the Brooklyn location of ‘SNice (315 3rd Street, Park Slope, 718-788-2121), the Manhattan-based health-conscious café  chain. The menu — written in multiple hues on a large chalk board — consists of creatively crafted sandwiches and salads, like the brie, pear and arugula sandwich that comes garnished with raspberry mustard, or the quinoa salad (our favorite), whose black beans, sweet corn and grapes tomatoes are lightly coated with an avocado dressing. The light let in by the café’s two full walls of windows makes for a pleasant dine-in experience, while a call-in-and-pick-up option allows you to eat healthy at home. And don’t forget dessert: The vegan cupcakes (we recommend the chocolate) are so rich you’ll want to split them with a friend.

Vegan brunch at the V Spot.

Vegan
The V-Spot (156 5th Avenue, Park Slope, 718-622-2275) offers something for everyone on its animal-free menu, from Asian appetizers (nori rolls, edamame) to Latin entrees (Bandeja paisa) to a Philly cheesesteak hero made with soy steak and vegan cheese. The menu also caters to patrons with food allergies, clearly noting which items contain cashews, and which (like the quinoa pasta and corn tortillas) are gluten free. We tried the delicious tofu Thai curry — served with gingered quinoa, kale, and chickpeas — and couldn’t stop ourselves from wolfing it down, giant portion and all.

Sugar-Free
Even though our borough abounds in healthy eateries, it’s still hard to find one that avoids refined sugar (or, rather, avoids refined sugar while still offering mainstream fare). Enter Bliss (191 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, 718-599-2547), a homey café  with a college-town vibe that uses maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and fruit juice to sweeten its vegan-friendly fare. We tried their maple syrup-sweetened organic homemade lemonade and found the combination of flavors, while a bit on the tart side, to be surprisingly refreshing. Bliss’s menu favors simple mixtures of vegetarian staples like brown rice, whole wheat wraps, grilled tempeh, a plenitude of fresh veggies that ensure you’ll leave feeling healthier than you did when you sat down.

Macrobiotic
Billing itself as a “holistic eco-eatery,” Sun In Bloom (460 Bergen Street, Park Slope, 718-622-4303) seeks to nourish its diners , both body and soul, via healthy, vegan dishes prepared in a sustainable fashion. The menu here is fairly basic — many of the items are raw, and most are some variant on a wrap, burrito, or salad — but that doesn’t mean it’s not tasty. The live sauerkraut in our Renewal Macro Bowl added a tangy zest to the dish’s standard rice-beans-veggie combo, while our freshly made greens juice, tasting strongly of cool cucumbers, quenched our thirst on a hot Indian summer evening.

Raw
The quiet that pervades Rockin’ Raw (178 North 8th Street, Williamsburg, 718-599-9333), located just off the bustling hubbub of Bedford Avenue, is just as unexpected as this cozy eatery’s menu. Along with such raw-food staples as pasta made of thin zucchini spirals, Rockin’ Raw offers surprises like a live po’ boy sandwich (served on sprouted Essene bread) or Tacu Tacu (accompanied by a vegetable-based “fried egg”)   inspired by the New Orleanian and Peruvian backgrounds of its owners. Not just for adventurous diners, Rockin’ Raw is suitable for those with multiple dietary concerns; the restaurant uses agave and coconut instead of refined sweeteners and indicates which items on its 100 percent gluten-free menu contain nuts. Its romantic, tree-filled back garden, replete with twinkling white lights, makes it a great date place as well.

Gluten-Free
Brooklyn still doesn’t have the equivalent of Manhattan’s Slice or Pala which offer extensive gluten-free versions of pizza and other Italian food, but our borough can boast to having a 100 percent dedicated gluten-free bakery, thanks to Everybody Eats (294 3rd Avenue, Park Slope, 718-369-7444). The bakery makes and sells a variety of gluten-free breads, from baguettes to challah to your basic sandwich loafs, as well as frozen pizzas and ravioli, cookies, brownies, and party cakes made to order. Everybody Eats doesn’t have an actual storefront, but their goodies can be picked up at their kitchen Monday through Friday, as long as you call in your order ahead of time; they also serve walk-in customers on Saturdays.

Kosher
There’s quite a concentration of kosher restaurants deep into the borough, see this comprehensive list, but for something closer to Brownstone Brooklyn, try Olga’s on Smith (407 Smith Street, Cobble Hill, 347-335-0981). This small but sleek deli offers both dairy and non-dairy items, for both takeout and dine-in. We recommend the paninis and salads, prepared fresh on the premises, although our gingered salmon, stored salad-bar-style behind the counter, was still moist upon reheating and came with heaping sides of roasted potatoes and garlicky broccoli.

Surprisingly Dietary-Restriction Friendly
What to do if one member of your party eats vegetarian or gluten-free while the rest of you don’t? We found several restaurants that, while not specifically geared toward those with dietary concerns, can still accommodate them. Bogota Latin Bistro (141 5th Avenue, Park Slope, 718-230-3805) marks which items on its Columbian-inspired menu are vegetarian, wheat free, and gluten free, while Scottadito Osteria Tuscana (788A Union St, Park Slope, 718-636-4800) now offers a gluten-free penne entree on its scrumptious pasta menu. Farther north, Brooklyn Label (180 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, 718-389-2806) gladly swaps out ingredients, like sausage gravy for mushroom gravy or cream for soy milk, to accommodate vegetarian and vegan patrons. Even some meat-centric restaurants proved unexpectedly veggie friendly: A vegan friend raved to us about both Lodge (318 Grand, Williamsburg, 718-486-9400), which offers a veggie burger among its many beef and fish dishes and a tofu veggie scramble for brunch, and Diner (85 Broadway, Williamsburg, 718-486-3077) which offers meat-free pancakes and omelettes for brunch and vegetarian soups and meal-sized salads for lunch. Check out our previous eating out guide for vegetarians, too.

46 Responses

  1. syd -

    Wow, this is offensive. Being vegetarian or vegan or gluten-free does not equate to picky eating. Saying you hate leafy greens and nuts and red food items makes you picky.

    Reply
  2. syd -

    Wow, this is offensive. Being vegetarian or vegan or gluten-free does not equate to picky eating. Saying you hate leafy greens and nuts and red food items makes you picky.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous -

    “Picky eaters”? Seriously?! Obviously you have never had any health issues that require you follow a certain diet. The term “picky eaters” implies a spoiled 4-year-old.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous -

    “Picky eaters”? Seriously?! Obviously you have never had any health issues that require you follow a certain diet. The term “picky eaters” implies a spoiled 4-year-old.

    Reply
  5. GA -

    Picky Eaters?!?! What kind of title is that for vegetarian or vegan eaters???

    Vegans and vegetarians are a group of people who recognize that eating animals is bad for the environment, awful for our health and beyond cruel to the billions of animals that die for non-carnivores, humans. Like smoking, eating animals is the worse thing you can do for your body. It may take 30 years to happen but you will indeed die from disease that was preventable by simply not eating animals.

    Humans do not have the claws, jaws, intestines etc. of carnivores/omnivores hence why we get diseased and die from eating animals. Look it up. I don’t know any human that can chase down their prey and eat from the carcass with their own bare hands and teeth.

    Reply
  6. GA -

    Picky Eaters?!?! What kind of title is that for vegetarian or vegan eaters???

    Vegans and vegetarians are a group of people who recognize that eating animals is bad for the environment, awful for our health and beyond cruel to the billions of animals that die for non-carnivores, humans. Like smoking, eating animals is the worse thing you can do for your body. It may take 30 years to happen but you will indeed die from disease that was preventable by simply not eating animals.

    Humans do not have the claws, jaws, intestines etc. of carnivores/omnivores hence why we get diseased and die from eating animals. Look it up. I don’t know any human that can chase down their prey and eat from the carcass with their own bare hands and teeth.

    Reply
  7. B. -

    Siggy’s Good Food, in Brooklyn Heights, on Henry Street, between Orange and Pineapple streets, can make many dishes gluten-free, including pasta.

    What else is out there, gluten-free wise?

    Reply
  8. B. -

    Siggy’s Good Food, in Brooklyn Heights, on Henry Street, between Orange and Pineapple streets, can make many dishes gluten-free, including pasta.

    What else is out there, gluten-free wise?

    Reply
  9. bkgrl -

    agreed! labeling vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free folks (et al) as picky eaters is wrong, and offensive. boo!
    disappointing… and ya’ll were doing so well…

    Reply
  10. bkgrl -

    agreed! labeling vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free folks (et al) as picky eaters is wrong, and offensive. boo!
    disappointing… and ya’ll were doing so well…

    Reply
  11. Nicole @ BB -

    Our heartfelt apologies to anyone we offended by using the word picky. We actually didn’t want to use the term “restricted diet” and thought picky best described the experience of having to be selective about what you eat. We were not using it in a negative sense.

    That said, what’s the best title for this guide? Would like to come up with one that’s agreeable to all.

    Reply
  12. Nicole @ BB -

    Our heartfelt apologies to anyone we offended by using the word picky. We actually didn’t want to use the term “restricted diet” and thought picky best described the experience of having to be selective about what you eat. We were not using it in a negative sense.

    That said, what’s the best title for this guide? Would like to come up with one that’s agreeable to all.

    Reply
  13. J.G.B. -

    … “meat-free pancakes”? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a meat-studded or stuffed pancake; aren’t they usually meat-free, or am I missing something?

    This post (and other recent offerings, especially the coffeeshop office post; that was downright terrible) definitely need a stronger editorial hand.

    I agree with the previous comments about the offensiveness of “picky eater” as the headline to this post — how about “specialized restaurant options” or something less tacky? Also, there’s so many other great restaurants around that what you’ve mentioned; most places in BK at least offer vegetarian options, and most in trendier nabes have vegan ones too. It’s just not that uncommon anymore.

    If you want to be seen as an authority on all things Brooklyn, do your research, expand your horizons, and pony up to pay a really good editor to review your content before it goes online, or your PR visibility push and redesign will be for naught.

    Reply
  14. J.G.B. -

    … “meat-free pancakes”? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a meat-studded or stuffed pancake; aren’t they usually meat-free, or am I missing something?

    This post (and other recent offerings, especially the coffeeshop office post; that was downright terrible) definitely need a stronger editorial hand.

    I agree with the previous comments about the offensiveness of “picky eater” as the headline to this post — how about “specialized restaurant options” or something less tacky? Also, there’s so many other great restaurants around that what you’ve mentioned; most places in BK at least offer vegetarian options, and most in trendier nabes have vegan ones too. It’s just not that uncommon anymore.

    If you want to be seen as an authority on all things Brooklyn, do your research, expand your horizons, and pony up to pay a really good editor to review your content before it goes online, or your PR visibility push and redesign will be for naught.

    Reply
  15. GA -

    “Restricted”, “Picky”, “Selective”… i’m sorry BB but by using these terms you are saying that eating meat is the norm and everything else is not the norm.

    There’s meat and then there is corn, carrots, onions, kale, broccoli, legumes, cherries, beats, squash, potatoes, nuts, etc etc etc etc. (tons of selections compared to meat)
    Seems like eating meat is more selective.

    How about BB’s “Guide to Healthy Eating”. Simple and non-offensive.

    Reply
  16. GA -

    “Restricted”, “Picky”, “Selective”… i’m sorry BB but by using these terms you are saying that eating meat is the norm and everything else is not the norm.

    There’s meat and then there is corn, carrots, onions, kale, broccoli, legumes, cherries, beats, squash, potatoes, nuts, etc etc etc etc. (tons of selections compared to meat)
    Seems like eating meat is more selective.

    How about BB’s “Guide to Healthy Eating”. Simple and non-offensive.

    Reply
  17. Alex -

    How about “BB Guide to Better Eating?” BTW, trivia fact: did you know that raising cows for beef creates 50% of the CO2 pollution in the world? Check out “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. 50% of global warming caused by humans is basically because people eat beef. Next time you eat beef, at least buy it in plastic bags and eat it on styrofoam plates, that’s far less harmful for the environment than what you’re eating.

    Reply
  18. Alex -

    How about “BB Guide to Better Eating?” BTW, trivia fact: did you know that raising cows for beef creates 50% of the CO2 pollution in the world? Check out “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer. 50% of global warming caused by humans is basically because people eat beef. Next time you eat beef, at least buy it in plastic bags and eat it on styrofoam plates, that’s far less harmful for the environment than what you’re eating.

    Reply
  19. ur2sensitive -

    i am gagging at the hypersensitive snobbery on this board. all you people whining about “offensive” use of the word picky need to grow up. fact is: you’re picky if you only eat raw / vegan / gluten free. accept it, your diets are out of the ordinary. it’s not a value judgment, it’s just statistics. get a real cause to champion, and a thicker skin.

    @BB: way to roll over, changing the title. c’mon.

    @GA: your post about getting disease in 30 years from eating meat is nonsense. one can live a long, healthy life while eating a diet that includes lean animal protein. veg may be the healthiest option, but eating meat is not at all like smoking. ridiculous post.

    Reply
  20. ur2sensitive -

    i am gagging at the hypersensitive snobbery on this board. all you people whining about “offensive” use of the word picky need to grow up. fact is: you’re picky if you only eat raw / vegan / gluten free. accept it, your diets are out of the ordinary. it’s not a value judgment, it’s just statistics. get a real cause to champion, and a thicker skin.

    @BB: way to roll over, changing the title. c’mon.

    @GA: your post about getting disease in 30 years from eating meat is nonsense. one can live a long, healthy life while eating a diet that includes lean animal protein. veg may be the healthiest option, but eating meat is not at all like smoking. ridiculous post.

    Reply
  21. Lauren -

    For some people, having to be selective about the foods eaten is not merely a matter of personal preference, but one of life or death. Before I very unexpectedly experienced an anaphylactic reaction (and nearly died) from something I ate at a restaurant, I had no idea that food could be life-threatening. It was the single most terrifying and horrific experience I have ever had and if there were one thing in my life that I could “un-know,'” it would be that. However, while ignorance may be bliss, I would hope that people who judge others for what they eat, at least can offer compassion and understanding for those, who for health, moral or ethical reasons, choose to be careful about what they consume.

    Reply
  22. Lauren -

    For some people, having to be selective about the foods eaten is not merely a matter of personal preference, but one of life or death. Before I very unexpectedly experienced an anaphylactic reaction (and nearly died) from something I ate at a restaurant, I had no idea that food could be life-threatening. It was the single most terrifying and horrific experience I have ever had and if there were one thing in my life that I could “un-know,'” it would be that. However, while ignorance may be bliss, I would hope that people who judge others for what they eat, at least can offer compassion and understanding for those, who for health, moral or ethical reasons, choose to be careful about what they consume.

    Reply
  23. Will K. -

    Thanks, Brooklyn Based, now that I know which restaurants go out of their way to cater to customers’ dietary limitations, I know which to avoid. I’m sure this article does a service to its intended readership, but its existence is symptomatic of an annoying trend. I’m speaking of the emergence of an obsessive and self-righteous pseudo-gourmandise among the pathologically picky, by which I mean those who view certain foods, rightly or wrongly, as a threat to their bodily integrity. The cause of the trend is that as Americans’ palates have become more cultivated, picky eaters have been left out and left behind. They have become more visible by contrast and more uncool. So they sublimate their food phobias and inclination toward ritual into a facsimile of connoisseurship. But, as with sex and all life’s simple pleasures, you simply cannot appreciate dining if it is a big, scary deal. (And it doesn’t matter whether the threat is real or imagined; the psychology ends up being the same.) To the rest of us, the charade looks embarrassing in the same way that a sex phobic compensating with lots of kinky talk is embarrassing. Everyone can see that you don’t like food. My advice? You don’t have to do everything. Not everyone can dance. Not everyone enjoys movies. And not everyone likes food. Just eat at home and then do something else when you go out. The trend toward neurotic gourmet is obscene.

    Reply
    • Joe -

      Nestor, thank you for being the voice for all selfish, ignorant fools in this country!

      Who the hell said anything about being scared to go out and eat? There are people in this country who happen to like food from the Earth not a box on a shelf in a grocery store. Does that make them picky, scared or trendy—NO it makes them one with nature and the food we are suppose to be eating not food that has addictive flavoring added so you can make some company rich. Look at people around the world who live long healthy lives into their 90s while others are ancient by the time they are in their 60s. Guess what the big difference in their lives are…

      Reply
  24. Will K. -

    Thanks, Brooklyn Based, now that I know which restaurants go out of their way to cater to customers’ dietary limitations, I know which to avoid. I’m sure this article does a service to its intended readership, but its existence is symptomatic of an annoying trend. I’m speaking of the emergence of an obsessive and self-righteous pseudo-gourmandise among the pathologically picky, by which I mean those who view certain foods, rightly or wrongly, as a threat to their bodily integrity. The cause of the trend is that as Americans’ palates have become more cultivated, picky eaters have been left out and left behind. They have become more visible by contrast and more uncool. So they sublimate their food phobias and inclination toward ritual into a facsimile of connoisseurship. But, as with sex and all life’s simple pleasures, you simply cannot appreciate dining if it is a big, scary deal. (And it doesn’t matter whether the threat is real or imagined; the psychology ends up being the same.) To the rest of us, the charade looks embarrassing in the same way that a sex phobic compensating with lots of kinky talk is embarrassing. Everyone can see that you don’t like food. My advice? You don’t have to do everything. Not everyone can dance. Not everyone enjoys movies. And not everyone likes food. Just eat at home and then do something else when you go out. The trend toward neurotic gourmet is obscene.

    Reply
    • Joe -

      Nestor, thank you for being the voice for all selfish, ignorant fools in this country!

      Who the hell said anything about being scared to go out and eat? There are people in this country who happen to like food from the Earth not a box on a shelf in a grocery store. Does that make them picky, scared or trendy—NO it makes them one with nature and the food we are suppose to be eating not food that has addictive flavoring added so you can make some company rich. Look at people around the world who live long healthy lives into their 90s while others are ancient by the time they are in their 60s. Guess what the big difference in their lives are…

      Reply
  25. Nestor -

    Does anybody remember the old ’70’s SNL sketch about a husband and wife called the Weiners (“whiners”)? They both had diverticulitis but went to restaurants and made a huge nuisance of themselves. Still so true, only now there seem to be more of these sorts, and they have a greater sense of entitlement. The involuntary nature of a medical dietary restriction is neither here nor there. A restaurant is not a hospital. It is not your mother’s kitchen. It’s a place where people who don’t have diet-limiting conditions go to enjoy food. The push to accommodate those who do represents the same kind of foolishness as the wheelchair ramps that one now sees descending into public pools. People in wheelchairs can’t swim. People with dietary restrictions can’t dine out, not really. These are not injustices regardless of your condition being not-your-fault, whatever that means. No one did it to you.

    Reply
    • Jordana -

      Oh dear. Please think twice about your wheelchair comment. Of course swimming can be therapeutic for some people in wheelchairs.

      Reply
  26. Nestor -

    Does anybody remember the old ’70’s SNL sketch about a husband and wife called the Weiners (“whiners”)? They both had diverticulitis but went to restaurants and made a huge nuisance of themselves. Still so true, only now there seem to be more of these sorts, and they have a greater sense of entitlement. The involuntary nature of a medical dietary restriction is neither here nor there. A restaurant is not a hospital. It is not your mother’s kitchen. It’s a place where people who don’t have diet-limiting conditions go to enjoy food. The push to accommodate those who do represents the same kind of foolishness as the wheelchair ramps that one now sees descending into public pools. People in wheelchairs can’t swim. People with dietary restrictions can’t dine out, not really. These are not injustices regardless of your condition being not-your-fault, whatever that means. No one did it to you.

    Reply
    • Jordana -

      Oh dear. Please think twice about your wheelchair comment. Of course swimming can be therapeutic for some people in wheelchairs.

      Reply
  27. Picky me -

    As a person who has to eat gluten-free and refined sugar free- yes, I’m picky! I have to be and have no apologies for it. Call me self-indulged, psychologically “afraid of food” but what do you care? live and let live, I’m not feeding you, you don’t have to eat what I eat–and vice versa. Besides, there are stories about places to go get your “sugar fix” are you going to cry about the allusion of addiction? I appreciate the fact that it cuts both ways. Besides, I pay for it and if I’m not “picky”, I end up paying with feeling awful, so being called “picky” is/was fine by me! Power to the Picky! (…now, can you come up with a list of places that don’t have soy products?)

    Reply
  28. Picky me -

    As a person who has to eat gluten-free and refined sugar free- yes, I’m picky! I have to be and have no apologies for it. Call me self-indulged, psychologically “afraid of food” but what do you care? live and let live, I’m not feeding you, you don’t have to eat what I eat–and vice versa. Besides, there are stories about places to go get your “sugar fix” are you going to cry about the allusion of addiction? I appreciate the fact that it cuts both ways. Besides, I pay for it and if I’m not “picky”, I end up paying with feeling awful, so being called “picky” is/was fine by me! Power to the Picky! (…now, can you come up with a list of places that don’t have soy products?)

    Reply
  29. LB -

    Oh you picky eaters. Get off your high, vegan horse and be excited that someone has given you a guide to restaurants where you can have your cake and eat it too. I think this was well-written, and as a non-vegan/gluten-free/etc eater, I want to try a lot of these places!

    Reply
  30. LB -

    Oh you picky eaters. Get off your high, vegan horse and be excited that someone has given you a guide to restaurants where you can have your cake and eat it too. I think this was well-written, and as a non-vegan/gluten-free/etc eater, I want to try a lot of these places!

    Reply
  31. FaFi -

    I’m just happy kosher was included on the list. If it wasn’t for Olga’s or Wild Ginger on Smith, I’d have to go to Crown Heights, Midwood or Manhattan any time I wanted to go out to eat. Try that! Rumor has it that a kosher meat place is opening by Atlantic.

    Reply
  32. FaFi -

    I’m just happy kosher was included on the list. If it wasn’t for Olga’s or Wild Ginger on Smith, I’d have to go to Crown Heights, Midwood or Manhattan any time I wanted to go out to eat. Try that! Rumor has it that a kosher meat place is opening by Atlantic.

    Reply
  33. dontbeanass -

    So I am picky if I really wish I could eat pasta, bread and cookie but I can’t because I have disease that makes me very sick if I do? Very interesting. Thanks for your expert opinion, ur2sensitive! I’ll talk to my dr about this, I’m sure he’ll agree it’s just that I’m “picky” and not sick.

    Reply
  34. dontbeanass -

    So I am picky if I really wish I could eat pasta, bread and cookie but I can’t because I have disease that makes me very sick if I do? Very interesting. Thanks for your expert opinion, ur2sensitive! I’ll talk to my dr about this, I’m sure he’ll agree it’s just that I’m “picky” and not sick.

    Reply
  35. JPinBK -

    Please don’t forget Naidre’s Cafe, 7th Avenue, bet 11th & 12th. A large portion of our menu caters to vegetarian/vegan fare, and most of our sandwiches containing meat, can be substituted with tofu, roasted beets, etc… We offer a great vegan breakfast, vegan chocolate chip cookies, vegan reuben, and a phenomenal vegan carrot cake!

    Reply
  36. Seans -

    In general there is a small percentage of people whose condition will move from diverticulosis to diverticulitis. Diverticulosis is the term used when you are having pouches on the wall of large intestine or the colon. On the other hand, diverticulitis is the condition in which these pouches are infected due to the entrancement of particles in the pouches.
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    Reply

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