Foodswings' eclectic menu disproves the notion that deep-fried, hangover-killing comfort fare has to come at the expense of our fishy, furry, and feathery friends. Stop in for a starter such as the signature pu pu platter ($11.50), a smattering of mock-chicken nuggets, sea styx, and Foodswings drumsticks paired with their respective sauces (buffalo, barbecue, and sweet barbecue). Heartier offerings include classic deli fare with a vegan spin, such as the tempeh Reuben (marinated tempeh, soy swiss cheese, warm sauerkraut on rye, $7.50) and Philly cheesesteak (marinated mock steak and onions, with a choice of Daiya cheese, $8.25). Burgers such as the diminutive kickin' veggie slider ($3) and the sloppy Vegan Heart Attack (soy burger with soy bacon, soy cheese, and the usual vegetable fixings, $7.25) appeal to herbivores, omnivores, and pretend-carnivores. To satisfy sweet cuspids, Foodswings offers more than 20 shakes and floats, including the Tank (chocolate ice cream, peanut butter, cookies, $4.50 for a regular size) and the Dark & Stormy (ginger ale and chocolate ice cream, $2.75), which is also the name of Pat Boone's book about riding in yachts.
Santorini Grill quenches Greek cravings with a multifarious menu bedecked by authentic protein-packed and veggie-laden plates. Mediterranean journeys make an oceanic entrance with octopodi ($14), a serving of grilled octopus marinated in vinegar, olive oil, and oregano. Then, like a well-crafted fiction character, the moussaka demonstrates its complex layers of eggplant, ground beef, and feelings, which are topped with a robust béchamel cream sauce ($15). Other main-plate highlights include the organic chicken-souvlaki platter ($18), which unites tender morsels of skewered chicken breast with grilled vegetables and Greek pilaf for full-fledged flavor warfare.
Aimee Follette wouldn’t let celiac disease stop her from enjoying a delicious meal, so she figured dietary requirements shouldn’t stop others, either. The founder and chef of Sun In Bloom uses organic, vegan, and gluten-free ingredients to overcome food issues and create culinary bliss, and crafts made-from-scratch dishes that pack a healthy punch and a whirlwind of flavors. Diners at Aimee’s upbeat Park Slope spot can jumpstart the day with a stack of gluten-free pancakes, which come glazed with caramelized bananas and maple syrup. They can also seek refuge from the cold in a steaming bowl of chia-seed almond-milk porridge with spiced walnuts, a dish with enough omega-3s, antioxidants, and fiber to make a multivitamin write a poem called “On Inadequacy.” Lunch and dinner items such as the marinated tempeh reuben or the bulging, veggie-packed bloom burger make diners forget all about meat. Inside of the kitchen, which is certified by the International Kosher Council, bakers create gluten- and dairy-free desserts such as the banana cake, a three-layer tower cemented by an oozing blanket of chocolate ganache and topped with a cloud of vanilla frosting. Beverages such as pressed juices, fair trade coffee, and organic smoothies deliver Sun In Bloom’s philosophy in liquid form.
Bombay Masala's chefs draw inspiration from the familiar spices and sauces that characterize Indian cuisine and create an eclectic spread of aromatic and flavorful recipes. Brooklyn Magazine heaped praise onto the chicken tikka masala⎯an Indian-style entree historically co-opted by the British⎯by naming Bombay Masala's version one of The 10 Best British Bites in Brooklyn. This particular dish, along with several others, begins cooking in the kitchen's clay tandoor oven, which roasts skewered meats and vegetables over a pile of smoldering charcoal and old love letters. As the skewers bake, the chefs whisk together curries and cream sauces that they spoon over everything from lobster to housemade cheese.
In the shadow of the Brooklyn museum, Natural Blend’s cooks whip up entire vegetarian meals with the simple press of a button. With their handy blenders, they churn out nourishing smoothies and juices enriched with virtually every element under the rainbow—ingredients range from pineapple and strawberry to sea moss, ashwagandha root, and bee pollen. Of course, they use griddles, grills, and ovens, too, especially in their menu of Caribbean-inspired eats. The morning brings servings of roasted breadfruit accompanied by ackee and saltfish or washed down by organic fair trade coffee. For lunch and dinner, they turn to noodles and grains, pairing lo mein and quinoa with vegetarian curries.
Paulie Gee’s menu of Neapolitan-style pizzas arrive fresh from a wood-fired oven loaded with creative toppings that more than earn their equally inventive names. Take, for instance, the Grapeful Dead pie—a crispy disc of baby spinach, mild gouda, shaved parmigiano reggiani, and pickled red grape halves. Or the Hellified Porkpie White, a collage of sweet Italian fennel sausage, Fior di Latte, and Mike’s Hot honey. The extensive menu includes roughly 20 distinct pizzas with a diverse docket of fresh ingredients, as well as vegan pizzas that may be topped with Daiya dairy-free cheese, house-made vegan fennel sausage, or baby arugula that hasn't even opened its eyes.