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Brooklyn Deserves a Better Vegetarian Restaurant Week

(Sour grapes alert, if you didn’t pick it up from the headline.) Brooklyn Vegetarian Restaurant Week is coming up soon, October 21-27, 2007. The week is sponsored by Brooklyn Goes Veg!, which seems to be a one person organization, but at least she’s doing something.

As of now, the participating restaurants are 4 Course Vegan, Jill’s, Imhotep, Elaa Juice Bar, Red Bamboo Brooklyn, Scoops, the online mail-order-only Veggie Brothers, and the V-Spot. I’m a cheap bastard careful with money, so I hoped that at the very least there’d be some good bargains happening. But all we’ve got are two prix-fix meals: $40 at 4 Course Vegan and $28 at the V-Spot. The “deals” for the other places haven’t been announced yet.

The launch party will be held at the V-Spot a few days before the week itself, on the evening of Thursday October 18th. There will be a a couple of raffles happening there. But where does your $10 ticket money go? “Towards logistical expenses and a portion of the proceeds will go to Brooklyn organizations who promote healthy eating/lifestyles.” Uh-huh. Like Brooklyn Goes Veg!, maybe?

I hope this Brooklyn Vegetarian Restaurant Week goes well. It’s still a week away, so maybe it will all come together and be amazing. And I guess it’s not too late for any of Brooklyn’s other dozen or so vegetarian restaurants to sign on. But for now it seems half-baked and unexciting. Brooklyn deserves better, right?

13 Comments

  1. Comment by

    animalfriendly

    on #

    Geez. That’s harsh. Try supporting a person who’s trying to do something to raise awareness of veg eating in the area. Considering that this is in all likelihood a one-person operation, it’s all the more reason to take it easy and perhaps even see how you can help, instead of finding ways to be snarky and critical.

  2. Comment by

    carlottavaldez

    on #

    I agree. Snarkiness is not good for community morale–it tears people apart and…

    wait, I go distracted–Scoops!

  3. Comment by

    homicidalmaniacal

    on #

    Um, why are you people reading SuperVegan if you don’t like snark?

  4. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    I have to agree with Jason. When I hear “Brooklyn Vegetarian Restaurant Week,” I expect something that I’ll actually want to go to. So far this just looks lame.

    I don’t think it does this community any good for us to mindlessly praise everything without distinguishing what’s genuinely worthwhile from what needs to be improved.

  5. Comment by

    obscurite

    on #

    Being a Brooklynite I’m well aware that I _deserve_ much better than I get. I’m still waiting on my million dollar check for being so darned awesome!

    But seriously, check out the other veg restaurant week cities. Brooklyn seems more exciting than the others including Philly. We’re actually doing pretty well compared with most places. And, I don’t see any promises anywhere about discounts… just an opportunity to market some local goods.

    BGV is helping the local veg industry, which is good for Brooklyn, and good for SV!

    P.S. Go organize a “cheaper” and “less lame” restaurant week!

  6. Comment by

    mdhaile

    on #

    You can belp me make a BETTER Restaurant Week by coming to the Kick-Off Reception, visiting a couple of restaurants next week, and sending me your feedback with your experience and what you’d like to see next year.

    I hope Brooklyn Goes Veg! can encourage non-vegetarians and vegans to recognize that vegetarians eat FOOD, and that meat-eaters do occasionally consume the foods that vegetarians and vegans eat. I’d like to see vegetarian considered the same way one would choose between Italian and Chinese.

    Thar I was able to pull this off with a) no money, b) 2 months of planning, and c) very little event producing experience, will show itself next week, no matter the outcome.

    Regardless of what the money for the raffles will go towards, who wouldn’t want to try and win a $400 super-blender for 10 bucks? And $1 for a chance to win 2 free dinners, a $25 gift certificate to Pumpkin’s Organic Market, books from Brooklyn-based publisher Lantern Press,a professional massage or other great veg-friendly prizes?

    In any case, the monies from the raffle will go to East New York Farms, Added Value, Kalabash Food Co-Op, and the newly reorganized Black Vegetarian Society of NY (which does happen to be headed up by me). And yes, whatever is left over will go to Brooklyn Goes Veg!-a one-woman operation.

    And since I can only work as fast as the restaurant owners/managers, busy trying to keep their establishments open, despite the number of cheap bastards-er, people careful with money out there, the website will be updated with the specials by the end of this week.

    Perhaps next year, when I’ll have had time to solicit more sponsors who can give money, it can be a bigger, more exciting, and full-baked event.

    I am deeply grateful to all who are supporting this event, especially my reception sponsors.

    For those of you who are careful with money, come to the Kick-Off Reception this Thursday, where free food is available to EVERYONE from 6-9pm.

    Lastly, it is too late for other restaurants to sign-on. Maybe this event (and You!) will encourage them to at least think about it for next year.

    Love & Light,
    Melissa D. Haile

  7. Comment by

    BrownbirdRudyRelic

    on #

    Frankly, I think you Brooklynites should be pretty stoked. If us Queens kats thought of doing something like this in our borough we would have to call it “The Queens Vegetarian Restaurant Hour”. HA!

  8. Comment by

    susie

    on #

    $28 at V-Spot–will that get me *two* handfuls of salad greens?

  9. Comment by

    falk_k

    on #

    mindless praise does nothing, but let’s reserve our “constructive” criticism for a post-event round-up, shall we? I’m excited about this first ever happening!

    I am sure other restaurants are in the process of developing menus… and why not spend as much at a vegan spot as one would at any other decent restaurant? It arguably takes more talent to make good veg fair. If the movement is going to get to the next level, we’ve all got to buck up a little.

  10. Comment by

    Jason Das

    on #

    Thanks so much for all the info, Melissa! I think part of my concern was how sketchy it all seemed, based on the info available at the time. Your comment really helped flesh things out. To the degree I was being critical, this was why – less than a week before the event and still so little information.

    I love Brooklyn and I love vegetarian restaurants, and I know you do, too, but it really wasn’t clear to me what set this week apart from any other week of eating veg in Brooklyn. I guess it’s still not, but I’m hoping for the best.

    I must say that I would hate to see “vegetarian” considered a cuisine category along the lines of Italian and Chinese. That seems like a huge step backwards. I just want to see more vegan food of all kinds, including Chinese and Italian!

  11. Comment by

    mdhaile

    on #

    Jason, you could have called me in regards to the ‘sketchiness’, just like everyone else who wanted clarity. :-)

    I’m all for critical analysis and constructive feedback, but one person can only do so much. Besides, as none of these restaurants have participated in a Restaurant Week on any level, they may be just as skeptical as you are. Whether they notice a difference during VRW and the other 51 weeks out of the year will be determined by diners like you.

    As far as vegetarian as a cuisine category: as long as our unenlightened omnivores view plant-based diets as a lifestyle choice, it limits plant-based cuisine’s accessibility as a viable, sustainable option.

    Vegetarian restaurants need the patronage of ALL diners, regardless of their preferred eating habits. Just ask Cafe Kai and The Greens. Oh wait, you can’t. :-(

    I look forward to your feedback! Especially as you can get the rest of the goodies I have to give away by writing a review.

  12. Comment by

    JanetG

    on #

    Melissa’s right that “vegetarian restaurants need the patronage of ALL diners, regardless of their preferred eating habits” and the best way to do this is to insist that, at least sometimes, “mixed” groups go to vegetarian restaurants. And when it’s just me and other Vs, we’re only going to vegetarian restaurants. They need our support and I’m happiest knowing what’s in my food, and that I can eat anything on the menu.

  13. Comment by

    Jdvjess

    on #

    I’m excited about Red Bamboo Brooklyn’s participation. Apparently they will have a $19.95 pre-fixe dinner. Here is the e-mail info I received about it.

    Red Bamboo Brooklyn is pleased as punch to participate
    in the first annual Brooklyn Goes Veg–Vegetarian Restaurant Week.

    From Sunday, October 21 to Saturday, October 27th, RBBK is offering a
    three course dinner menu of our most popular dishes for the bargain price of $19.95.
    That’s the best offer among participating restaurants to date!

    We encourage you get into the spirit of the event and bring a non-veg friend
    to dinner at RBBK this week… it’s what we’re all about.

    Reservations are encouraged, but not necessary. Please call 718.643.4352.

    PRE FIXE DINNER–$19.95

    Appetizer
    Soul Chicken
    Coconut Crusted Shrimp
    Buffalo Barbecue Wings
    Collard Green Rolls

    Entree
    Citrus Beef
    Mango Chicken
    Butterfly Soy Chops
    Veal Marsala*

    Dessert
    Peanut Butter Bomb Cake
    Banana Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
    Oreo Cookie Cheesecake
    Death By Chocolate
    White Raspberry Cheesecake
    and more…

    Are you only available at lunch? That’s ok, we’ve got lunch specials!

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