The following is the first in an ongoing series of posts about eating vegetarian and vegan in Bay Ridge.
The Brooklyn Beet Company (7205 Third Avenue) is one of my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood, and yet there’s only one thing I ever order there: the Brooklyn Beet Burger. It’s a testament to how good that goddamn burger is. (Well, that, and the cocktails. How does a Bay Breakfast—tequila, pineapple, lime, etc.—feel so appropriate whether at brunch or dinner, in winter or summer?) Veggie burgers are the sort of thing I rarely order anywhere: you usually get a lame pressing of peas and carrots and soybeans, or a Boca patty; I’ll eat them occasionally at home, but only rarely if I’m going out, and then it’s usually as an excuse to get something else: the potato chips at Burger Bistro, the pita bread at Offshore. But BBC, a farm-to-table spinoff of Park Slope’s Korzo, has a must-get veggie burger, as much for the add-ons as for the patty itself—the kind you can’t eat anywhere else.
Like a lot of what you can order here, it’s beet-based: a patty made up of the Eastern European red root, as well as walnuts and black-eyed peas. But for the beet-averse, who seem plentiful, the texture is totally different, and the taste only vaguely related; the patty starts with beets, but ends somewhere else, somewhere unique. Don’t dismiss it till you’ve tried it. The onions, caramelized in Riesling, are a nice flavor enhancer, as is a dollop of the house beet ketchup, which I include in every bite. But I always get it without the Edam, because I don’t like cheese in general (stick with me), and I try to keep vegan anyway.
Not that the Beet Burger is otherwise vegan: the Langoš, a server once told me, has dairy in it. But it’s that fried Slovak bread that makes the burger—it’s like eating a veggie burger served in a zeppole. I’m pretty strict about not including animal products in my diet, but I always end up—and not without a bit of shame—screwing that up just a few times a year, when I sit myself at one of the Beet Company’s shared tables and pretend I don’t know what’s in the bread. But that’s an indication of how good it tastes—enough to make you forget your most deeply held moral beliefs. Especially after one or two Bay Breakfasts.
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