A bright neon flamingo marks the otherwise elusive entrance of this hip hangout in South Williamsburg, where it seemed like I could get everything I wanted out of a night out – good healthy food, well-crafted cocktails and a great night of dancing.
As a super picky, mostly vegetarian, mostly dairy-free eater who used to have a hard time scouring the late-night food trucks for healthy after-partying food options, I find it incredibly refreshing to see the heights to which Chef Soozee Nguyen, along with food creatives Andrea Lubrano and Ben Dawson (Leyanda), have taken vegetarian dining at Black Flamingo.
With decor modeled after a 1970's "champagne room", this is definitely the hippest veggie taco experience I've ever had...
The sophisticated palette of the menu at Black Flamingo takes vegetarian tacos to an entirely new level by combining flavors that you normally wouldn't want to experience in the same bite. However, once you take that bite, you realize that you are a close-minded fool.
We ordered every single taco on the menu x 2 (because they also come in vegan and gluten-free versions)... Here's the final verdict:
My favorite gluten-free taco on earth - the Jam (I'm salivating just thinking of it). A taco stuffed with crispy potato latke, gruyere, guava jam, fried garlic, chive-dill crema, red onion escabeche, cotija (a hard cow's milk cheese from Mexico), and scallion. The vegan version of The Jam is just as delicious even without gruyere or cotija. I definitely loved the combination of textures and melting pot of flavors in my mouth.
I also really loved the Savory Shroom not just because I'm mushroom crazy, but this creative combo was really delicious - crispy herb mushroom croquette, brazilian collard, fried leek, truffle cashew crema, with fresh pecorino and on the vegan version, almond parmesan instead.
Their more elaborate version of a kim chee taco, called The Bibimbap, is also pretty damn tasty - popcorn tofu with pickled watermelon radish, carrot, daikon, arugula, toasted black sesame seed, scallion, topped with a fried quail egg. The taco itself is not spicy, but you can add some of their homemade hot sauce for a kick.
But the most mind-blowing combination of unexpected flavors had to be the special taco of the night - stuffed with jackfruit, grilled pineapple, pico de gallo and avocado. I had no earthly idea what that would taste like but the sweetness from the jackfruit combined with the tart grilled pineapple, spicy pico del gallo and soothing avocado danced delightfully in my mouth.
Tacos aside, the rest of the Latin-influenced fare was superb. The House Made Chips with Guacamole are probably the best that I've tasted outside of Mexico.
The Esquites - fresh charred corn, habanero, aioli, lime, cilantro and cotija were also very delicious.
As for drinks, I found the Permanent Vacation to be one of my favorites – a very drinkable, very refreshing take on a pisco cocktail – perfect for a hot summer day. And being a hard core Mezcal-lover, the Power of Nommos (mezcal, hum liquer, and shiso infused liquer) really made a strong impression on me.
If food and drink aren't enough to draw you there, maybe the music and intimate basement dance cavern will seal the deal. Under the dining room, there lies a dance floor that could easily fit 500 people. DJs spin the nostalgic sounds of house, disco, and classic dance.
Black Flamingo is a collaborative brainchild between David Shapiro and Etan Fraiman (Battery Harris) alongside Eli Goldstein (Soul Clap), Philipp Jung (M.A.N.D.Y.), Gadi Mizrahi (Wolf & Lamb), and creative partner, Bryce David. They wanted to create a hang out alternative that was more intimate and sophisticated than most of the places on the hipster tourism main drag that is Bedford Avenue. Congratulations gentlemen, you've succeeded.
Address: 168 Borinquen Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Subway: Metropolitan Ave G; Lorimer St L; Marcy JMZ; Hewes JMZ
Tuesday – Wednesday: 6PM – 2AM
Thursday – Saturday: 6PM – 4AM
Tuesday – Saturday: Kitchen Open 6PM – 11PM
Tuesday – Friday: Happy Hour 6PM-8PM