Taco Magic at Black Flamingo
Now: dinner. In the great expanse of New York City, sometimes an eatery can exist without showing up on your radar field. And sometimes it finds you, as was the case of Williamsburg’s Black Flamingo. The dark, loungey hot spot has a mostly vegan (or veganizable) menu of mostly tacos. But these tacos transcend. Far surpassing the presumed innards of this beloved form, Black Flamingo offers fusiony flavor-packed veggies, each component steeped in forethought. No shortcuts. No packages were opened in the making of these tacos. These are my kind of tacos.
With a menu like this, you get an appetizer and you get dessert. And you get alotta tacos. Them’s the rules. Since the corn was still grilling, we couldn’t have the Esquitas to start. The description alone will have me back. Our runner-up appetizer was the Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes: pulled jackfruit, sweet corn, fresh herbs and spices served with cilantro-chive aioli and topped with micro greens.
The Palms: grilled hearts of palm, guacamole, esquites, chipotle aioli, pickled watermelon radish, fresh cilantro, micro arugula. This one was my favorite. It’s great to see Hearts of palm showing up on vegan menus. Their subtle taste and tubular texture lends itself to minimal processing, though they’re not freshly available anywhere close. This was a wonderful vehicle for them.
In the center, surrounded by two Palms, the Banh Mi: miso and lager tofu, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro-chive aioli, Sriracha, fresh cilantro. This was the most familiar tasting of the tacos. These are perfect 4-5 bite tacos that liven up the mouth, hitting most if not all of my flavor and texture preferences… that is rarely achieved.
Most delightfully interesting was The Jam, far left. Potato latke, guava jam, fried garlic, red onion escabeche, and a drizzling of their vegan crema. Also in the pic, CP‘s two tacos: Sgt. Pepper with grilled oyster mushroom, shishito pepper, cauliflower puree, cilantro-chive aioli, red onion escabeche, and almond parmesan and The Bibimbap with Gojujang popcorn tofu, pickled watermelon radish, carrot, daikon, micro arugula, toasted black sesame seed, and scallion.
And there’s dessert! All-vegan housemade ice cream sandwiches: Mexican chocolate, pumpkin, and strawberry. The scalloped edge cookies were soft and thin. They were not dense, dry cookies whose bite pushed ice cream outward, no no. They came along for the bite, serving several functions both practical and delicious. Pinch me, is this place for real?
Another new, spectacular vegan eatery in Brooklyn. The tide is truly turning in my hometown city and my belly is reaping the rewards. The days of low brown, reheat, packaged garbage vegan eateries are leaving and mindful, inventive and flavorful vegan options are sprouting up. It’s a busy time for Vegan Victuals! Thank you, Black Flamingo, for helping to reinstate my love for vegan food at home.