Kate's Brooklyn Joint, the UnMeateaters Paradise
I finally muster the strength to sit down at the keyboard and give my 2 cents about the vegetarian outpost of East Village favorite Kate's Joint, when Gothamist beats me to the punch. Anyway, here goes...
For someone who loves to eat and pretty much eats any type of food from brain to sweatbreads to good old fashioned NY sirloin, I have a lot of vegetarian friends and family. Whenever I book a table for friends and family, I always check on the vegetarian options available. So when my vegetarian friends invited me to Kate's Brooklyn Joint the other night, it was not without trepidaton that I took them up on the offer.
Housed in what feels like a former Kennedy Fried Chicken, the restaurant is not only physically cold, but utterly charmless. And no, the lack of charm doesn't make it charming in an ironic Williamsburg way. Kate's Brooklyn Joint is a regular smorgasboard of tofu TV dinners. Chicken fried unsteak anyone?
With the daily onslaught of how bad meat is for us, Kate's can be a guilt-free experience in indulgence. I was ready to go full hog. Starting with the unchicken buffalo wings, then advancing to the unsteak au poivre and a vegan dessert. I could barely contain myself. I was ready to devour endless amounts of unmeat with no guilt. It's tofu. It's healthy and how I was going to make a trip to the ultimate in vegetarian dining worth it.
The tofu in the unchicken wings ($5.95) had the consistency of breaded, deep-fried wet sponge doused in tobasco sauce. It didn't help that they were served with limp carrot and celery sticks to finish up the blue cheese dressing with. Was this a preview of the rest? That's when I put the breaks on the rest of my plan and opted for the grilled cheese ($4.95). It was your basic and thoroughly unsatisfying grilled cheddar cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with a side of mixed mesclun leaves. Meanwhile, one of my vegetarian dining companions devoured her McKate burger made with two unbeef patties and served with top notch fries ($9.95). I had a taste and indeed Kate's own "special sauce" makes it reminiscent of a Big Mac, just without the guilt and the disturbing ingredients. It would be worth a trip to Kate's just for that. Another was more than happy with his chicken fried unsteak with collard greens and yams ($10.95). The vegetarian burrito ($7.95) however came in first. It was excellent made with real grilled vegetables and brown rice.
If you can manage to eat dish after dish of tofu masked as meat, Kate's can be a lot of fun. You can have those "wings" and that "burger" and know you're cutting back on saturated fat. But for the meateater maybe the best thing about Kate's Brooklyn Joint is the BYO policy.
Kate's Brooklyn Joint is located at 295 Berry Street, 718-218-7167.