Last Thursday evening, Jim and I participated in Dine Out Williamsburg for Sandy Relief. Gwynnett Street was a participating restaurant, and we've been dying to try it out for a while. What better way to try out a fancy new bistro than a night when 20% of their gross profits are going to provide relief to Sandy victims? This meal totally impressed me. Gwynnett Street is very vegan friendly. So much so, they always have a vegan appetizer, entrée and dessert on their menu at any given time. Jim started out with their Whiskey Bread, which wasn't vegan but vegetarian. It came with cultured butter and looked delicious. I wish it was vegan, it looked so yummy it was torture looking at it. For my appetizer I had the winter squash with bell pepper, szechuan pepper and peppercress. Holy moly this was delicious. Textures were great. The squash had a nice bite to it, the herbs were flash fried, and it also had what I believe were pepitas throughout it which gave it additional crunch against the soft vermicelli noodles. The sauce was delicately sweet and had a hint of citrus. It was also probably one of the most gorgeously plated vegan dishes I think I've ever had. For my entrée, I finally got to try their tofu. This restaurant like Roberta's was awarded a two star review by the New York Times, and the reviewer raved about their house made tofu. This night it was prepared crusted in pistachio with avocado, celery and celtuce. The texture was more reminiscent of a pate to me, and it had a great pistachio crust. Very light and tasty, perfectly paired with the raw avocado, celery and celtuce (which I think is a combination between celery and lettuce?). What absolutely made my night is when the waitress told me the chef was going to come up with a specialty vegan dessert for me. She later came back out with what I believe was a sorbet with poached pears, fall spices (lots of cinnamon), a nut cream sauce, and fresh berries. This was as delicious and seasonal as it sounds. Isn't the plating beautiful? I was extremely pleased with my meal at Gwynett Street and will for sure be back. It's now one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood. Have you tried the vegan options at Gwynett Street? What did you think?
Last Saturday, Jim and I dropped off a load of Sandy Relief donations at Roberta's Pizza in Bushwick. We had never eaten there, and figured we'd stay for lunch. That's not to say we haven't tried to eat there before. Last time we tried it was closed down due to these folks eating there. If you're unfamiliar with Roberta's, the restaurant somewhat pioneered the Brooklyn food scene and has given Brooklyn a rep for having restaurants just as good as Manhattan, if not better. In fact, the New York Times awarded them a two star review. I don't know they're entire history and story but do know that they actually grow a lot of the produce they use on site. There was of course a wait when we arrived. They have an additional bar outdoors in a heated tent, so we sat out there for a bit while we waited for our table. All the seating is pretty much shared. So we were sat with another couple on one side and a family of four on the other, all at the same table. I informed the waitress I was vegan and asked what she recommended, and she was very accommodating. I was recommended the Delicata Salad minus the cheese, which was roasted delicata squash with pea shoots and what I'm guessing was a pumpkin seed dressing. It was absolutely phenomenal. After the first bite I understood why Roberta's was awarded those two stars. They also made their hash brown potatoes minus the pork hash for Jim. It wasn't vegan due to butter, so I couldn't have it. He ate the entire thing so I know it must have been delicious. Can't go to Roberta's without trying the pizza. The Rosso pie is on their standard menu and is vegan. It's very simple with a flavorful garlic tomato sauce. This pizza was by far the best pizza I've ever had in New York. The crust was perfection, light and crunchy, not too heavy. I wouldn't even think of bastardizing this with a layer of daiya. And I LOVE daiya. It was that good without it. The food is just too good not to go again and again. I'm really looking forward to my next visit.
Last week, Jim and I felt like going out to eat so we stopped by Caracas Arepas Bar. I had eaten there before and loved it, and Jim had never been. It was a beautiful evening out so we opted for their outdoor seating area. If you're a vegetarian or a vegan, they have lots of veg friendly options and are open to modifying. The arepas are crazy filling, inexpensive and delicious. This summer we plan on trying as many new restaurants as we can. I love dining al fresco.