So, perhaps you've heard already, but kale has now officially been declared (by the paper of record, no less) as being "so ubiquitous in Brooklyn that it could be named the borough’s official vegetable." Hooray for kale! No, but really. Hooray for kale. Kale is delicious and a superfood and all that good stuff. Sure, some people go a little overboard in their love for leafy greens, as demonstrated in this past Sunday's front-page story in the New York Times. wherein we learned all about how a "kale crusader" (um) has decamped to Paris from New York to spread the gospel of this nutrient rich cruciferous vegetable. Unfortunately for Kristen Beddard, kale evangelist, Paris doesn't really care about kale, finding it "superfluous" to the already healthy, balanced French diet. But just because Kristen Beddard maybe goes a little bit overboard in her kale enthusiasm, it doesn't mean that kale isn't great. Because you know where kale is always needed and never redundant? Brooklyn! Kale is everything here, so we thought we'd celebrate kale and Brooklyn and, like, America by highlighting the ten best kale dishes in the borough. Because in Brooklyn? You can never have too much kale.
Kale Salad; Thistle Hill Tavern
Ah, so, obviously many of Brooklyn's best kale dishes are salads. But the kale salad at Thistle Hill Tavern isn't some ascetic pile of barely dressed greens with nothing more than a few radish slices to break up the leafy monotony. No, this kale salad is decadent and bursting with flavor. Each leaf is graced with just the right amount of a creamy slaw dressing, and the salad is also replete with bourbon peaches and spicy corn nuts—both ingredients designed to make eating this salad a pure pleasure. Available at brunch or dinner, this kale salad almost feels too indulgent. Just kidding. There's no such thing as too indulgent. It's still kale.
441 7th Avenue, Park Slope
Rooftop Red Pizza; Paulie Gee's
This Greenpoint pizzeria offers plenty of meat and cheese covered pies, but one of our favorites is the Rooftop Red, which stars our favorite ingredient and yours: kale. The pizza features tomatoes, shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and a drizzle of Aleppo chile oil, but the real star is the marinated baby kale (grown locally at Rooftop Farms) which has spent hours soaking in a bath of olive oil and sea salt. This combination tenderizes the greens while still allowing the kale to maintain its textural integrity, leading to what is easily the best salad-inspired pizza we've ever had. Also available in a vegan version, this pizza is a must-try for all kale lovers.
60 Greenpoint Avenue, Greenpoint
Kale Smoothie; Tiny Empire
Not every kale dish needs to be, you know, in a dish. Some of them are in a cup. Such is the case with the number 11 smoothie from juicer extraordinaire Tiny Empire. Featuring kale, spirulina, coconut water and coconut meat, raw cacao and dates, this smoothie offers all the benefits of kale, along with the sweet richness of dates and coconut. It tastes way too good to be healthy for you, and yet it is! Drink up.
142 N. 6th Street, Williamsburg
Creamed Kale; Northeast Kingdom
Even kale needs to feel decadent sometimes, and what better way to do it than by adding lots of cream and butter and dairy goodness? None that we can think of. So when you want to feel a little bad when you're eating kale, get on over to Northeast Kingdom and either order the vegetarian main of Cauliflower, which comes with creamed kale, potatoes, and roasted garlic, or order the kale salad which comes studded with tangy, creamy blue cheese. Either way, the dairy goes a long way toward cutting the intrinsic bitterness of the kale, making it even more delicious than you ever thought it could be.
18 Wyckoff Avenue, Bushwick
Kale Slaw on a Pulled Pork Sandwich; Char No. 4
Could any food seem more diametrically opposed to kale than pulled pork? I don't think so! And yet at Char No. 4, the two ingredients go together in a sandwich that will blow your mind. Char No. 4 has long been famous for its pulled pork sandwich, but the restaurant only recently began topping it with a kale slaw (which is also available as a side). This was a wise decision because, together, these two things make for the perfect sandwich. The rich, tangy pork is complemented by the sharp, bitter slaw in a way that is unique to this sandwich, easily making it one of the best kale dishes in Brooklyn.
196 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
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