by Alison Magistrali
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with beets. They are the “diva” of vegetables. They’re messy, they stain everything, they’re a pain to prep, and they have a flavor that is…I don’t want to stay boring but not thrilling. Lately, as long as I don’t have to cook them myself, I feel pretty good about beets. The flavor has grown on me and I love the sweet earthiness they provide and of course, they have a beautiful red color, as long as the beets stay on your fork and not on your hands. With such a tumultuous relationship with beets, how did I end up at the Brooklyn Beet Company?
Well, the restaurant has:
- A farm-to-table menu…literally, there’s a garden 20 feet from the stove.
- A cozy atmosphere with communal tables for a friendly dining experience.
- A reputation. Opened by the same owners as the reputable Korzo (have you had their fried burger?!).
As a vegetarian, the Korzo fried burger never really appealed to me, until I realized that they gave the same treatment to the Brooklyn Beet Burger — encased in a famous, golden-fried “bun.” Yes, fried and vegetarian? It’s a winning combination.
With a mix of classic rock and old school hip-hop music playing throughout the evening, dinner started out with fresh cocktails, and when I say fresh, I mean the B’klyn Beet ‘Tini tasted like fresh beet juice spiked with vodka. It was delicious, but it was really that good, refreshing and the perfect size. I sipped it throughout my appetizer, burger, AND dessert. The So Slo, a Manhattan/Old Fashioned-like cocktail was strong and sweet and it was the elderflower liquor that shined through at the finish.
Turnip-fall squash dumplings with mushroom-herb stuffing came quickly from the kitchen. The asiago cheese was a nice, sharp contrast to the dough and nuttiness of the mushrooms. I dipped them in BBC’s homemade beet ketchup, which is simple, yet again fresh and nutty in flavor. Not too heavy, the perfect start to the oncoming “fried” burger.
When the burger was served, I knew this would be a culinary experience like I had never experienced before. The patty was tender, a nice contrast to onions and pickled celery. (Pickled celery?! How unique and so tasty.) The cheese was the perfectly stringy and creamy, yet mild so that it didn’t take away from any of the other flavors, specifically the beets. Walnuts were subtle but gave a nice texture variation and flavor. And the bun, thin and very slightly crisp, and soft enough to be costars to the burger. Try a dash of BBC’s homemade hot sauce on the burger — it complements the sweetness of the beets added a fiery flavor from fire-roasted red peppers.
I love fries, but I didn’t miss the fries here. Cole slaw, which I usually skip, was again, fresh and not drowning in mayo. It was light, crunchy and the natural flavors were able to really come out. A green salad is simple and crunchy, with a light vinaigrette and fresh mint. The mint is an unexpected delight.
A carrot pineapple cake caught my eye, and although I’m usually a chocolate person (the couple next to me recommended the chocolate raspberry cake), I took a dive for the carrots. After a lot of food and a couple of cocktails, it was the perfect ending to a really wonderful meal. I only wish there was more frosting but all in all, wow. The cake was the perfect mix of moist, flavor, and texture. The frosting, caramel drizzle and fresh strawberry brought everything together.
Vegetarian and locavore-friendly but playing for the meat lovers, Brooklyn Beet Company is certainly a gem of Bay Ridge. I just hope the line out the door that’s sure to form holds off just a bit longer for my sake. Beet on, BBC, beet on.
Photo: Yelp/Kayo N.