A Roof in the Whole: The Roof

01/29/2014 4:00 AM |


Photos by Austin Mcallister

The Roof
214 Third Street, Gowanus


Standard dieting advice says that food shopping on an empty stomach can leave you with a cart full of calorie-dense impulse buys. But dining before you shop at the Roof, the taproom and counter-service café on the second floor of Brooklyn’s new Whole Foods, poses different risks. You might easily blow your entire shopping budget on wholesome bar food before your aisle-wandering even begins. Or, after a few rounds upstairs, you may find yourself drunkenly loading your cart with Third & 3rd specialties like frozen Roberta’s pizzas, pints of Van Leeuwen’s vegan ice cream and Chocopologie Chestnut Cocoa Stout Chocolate Truffles, wiping out both your budget and your dietary resolutions. But we don’t think you’ll regret it.

The taproom is tucked into the corner of a larger seating area, where customers can bring trays from the food court and downstairs. If you’ve got a big appetite, it’s worth hitting the Yuji Ramen counter on your way up for a bowl of broth-less yet big-flavored noodles to eat as an appetizer; the Roof’s food service is on the slow side. Otherwise, we couldn’t complain. Even on a recent rainy Saturday afternoon, the second-floor space was filled with natural light. There were a few seats taken at every one of the many communal tables, and the majority of parties were helmed by a kid or two; despite all the highchairs, the scene was mellow enough to sip a Stillwater Stateside Saison—a citrusy, golden farmhouse ale—in peace. (The 16 beers on tap include a few that are brewed especially for the Third & 3rd Whole Foods Market, like Evil Twin’s Even More Denmark, a smoky and malty chocolate-chestnut stout that’s 10 percent alcohol.)

The Roof offers lots of meaty bar food, like burgers, maple-sriracha wings, beer-glazed ribs, juicy hot dogs, baby brats served on mini pretzel rolls, and chorizo cheese fries. But there are also plenty of vegetarian options. The Winter Grilled Cheese, on buttery stout bread, has just the right ratio of sweet pear-ginger preserves to sharp cheddar. In another savory sandwich, chestnuts, roasted red onions and honey complement a Cabmembert. The crisp-tender cauliflower steak, though on the bland side, was artfully presented in a ring of saffron aioli, toasted almonds and plump currants. The Brussels sprouts, which were larger than golf balls, were served whole. The central leaves seemed undercooked compared to the caramelized exteriors; a fig accompaniment sweetened the dish. A huge salad of crisp, refreshing bitter greens, tart blood orange rounds and crunchy toasted pistachios was big enough to share. Our bellies now full of cleansing leaves and citrus, we headed downstairs to fill our baskets with fancy candy bars, pizzas, ice cream and growlers of beer .

One Comment

  • Why bother with this place. Big, corporate, Republican Whole Foods trying to act trendy and drawing upon uninformed and apathetic newer white residents to gorge themselves on the shores of the fecal waves of the turbid & befouled Gowanus canal. There is literally untreated sewage dispersed into the canal there, mere feet from that Whole Foods location there and your salivating mouth.

    Okay, we already know that the demographic Whole Foods is pursuing here is the yuppie/hipster dollar, white people who are so rich or their parents are so rich that the significance of avoiding & staying away from Whole Foods is completely lost on them.

    Not only is Whole Foods a huge supporter of every right-wing cause, the owner being a staunch lifelong Texan Republican, but Whole Foods also greased local councilmen, Brad Blander and Dull de Blahsio before him, in order to gain access to this location, which was zoned for two spots and was zoned for manufacturing, and not for retail, a completely illegal rezoning engineered and arranged by real estate lapdogs Blander and Dull Blasio. This was orchestrated by political and real estate high level collusion of the ugliest kind, even with most local residents protesting the collusion by the local councilmen – dull Blasio then rewarded with being “elected” mayor. Nasty stuff. Look into the way modern centrist Democrats use neo-liberal economic tactics to gain office and line their pockets and then claim to be “progressive” merely because they support marriage equality.

    The Gowanus canal is, of course, one of the filthiest bodies of water in the country and was designated as such by the Environmental Protection Agency, to the chagrin and objections of Dull de Blasio and little Braddie Blander, who both claimed that the Gowanus canal, as they put it, was “not that dirty”, in order to expedite big business dreams and big real estate. Classic, garden-variety political collusion and deception. Now big Billy Dull Blasio is mayor. Guess how that happened? Guess where those campaign funds came from?

    But you guys will eat anywhere. No scruples from the new local lilywhite honky residents when it comes to rich, expensive food & drink. Entitlement never tasted so good to y’all. But remember… you’ll be eating your expensive grub & brews atop a toxic site, a filthy industrial brownfield that it is projected will take at least a hundred years to completely clean, if ever.