Reader, if you, like us, are vegan and live and work in South Brooklyn, you, like us, likely hold a complicated mix of admiration + contempt for North Brooklyn, specifically the areas of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. These days, those neighborhoods are essentially spilling over with vegan cafés, pizza places with vegan slices, vegan doughnut joints, awesome Mexican street food with seitan and Daiya options, and outstanding Sicilian-style restaurants with beautiful interior design and separate, exceptional vegan menus.
And in South Brooklyn, we’ve got V-Spot.
Obviously exaggerating a bit for the sake of emphasis. We’ve got other options in the area—from mostly vegan pan-asian to awesome nearly raw cafés to a wealth of relatively veg-friendly non-veg restaurants. And not to dig too much specifically on V-Spot. But we need more, South Brooklyn. Nay, nay—we DESERVE more.
Turns out, Paris-based hotelier, restauranteur, and, evidently, comic-book-enthusiast Cyril Aouizerate agrees. Roughly four weeks ago, he cut the ribbon on a brand new vegetarian (vegan, minus some honey) restaurant that we guarantee will blow you away. Maimonide of Brooklyn structures its menu around open-face sandwiches they call MOBs—flatbread made from locally sourced Champlain Valley whole grains, shaped into Brooklyn Bridge style arches (you read that right), and topped with creatively combined vegetables, legumes, and vegetarian spices and sauces.
On our visit last week—after walking into Maimonide’s beautiful Atlantic Avenue spot and being greeted by our the staff, dressed like comic-book-style monks—we were given complimentary baked kale chips and ordered the Iron Man MOB (roasted shiitake mushroom, sauteed kale, horseradish aioli, parsley) and the Belly Charmer (tagine of eggplant, zucchini, and carrot, moroccan spices, pistachio, mint, cilantro), both pictured below on a tray Aouizerate had made to call out and honor the neighborhoods of Brooklyn. And yes, they were both really, really good.
Other interesting-sounding MOBs include the Aphrodisiac (celery root braised and mashed with ras al hanout, asparagus, toasted almond), the Rock MOB (creamy white beans with fennel seed and almond milk, escarole, fresh pear, basil), and the Brave Heart (sun-dried tomato, caper and parsley pesto, rosemary grilled portobello mushroom, lemon). The menu also features some snazzy sounding salads, a really nice, creamy corn soup topped with popcorn (“in memory of the Native Americans who used to grow corn on boerum hill in Brooklyn”), and vegan chicken-style nuggets (they were out of those when we visited though).
The kinda-hard-to-remember, off-kilter name, Maimonide, owes its origins to the medieval philosopher, rabbi, advisor to Egyptian kings, and physician, Moses ben-Maimon—AKA, Maimonide—who, well ahead of his time, evidently advocated a vegetable-based diet. The comic book (yes, comic book) that Aouizerate had produced for the restaurant’s opening not only introduces us to the restaurant itself, but presents us with Maimonide’s updated personification—a pizza delivery guy who, after crashing into a melon stand, becomes a superhero with vegetable-based super powers, donning a tiny turban and some mad kicks. Obviously. New York Magazine’s got a partial scan of the thing if you’d like to see what we’re talking about.
Better yet, stop by and pick one up yourself. The food’s superb, the space is absolutely bizarrely beautiful—a hidden gem among the urban bustle of Atlantic Avenue—and the service is great. Our server—who was seemingly endowed with the super power of uncanny politeness—also mentioned that they’re hoping to soon use the cavernous space for live music and regular DJs soon, as well as bring in wine and beer in February.
Maimonide is located at 525 Atlantic Avenue, b/t 3rd + 4th Avenues, a quick walk from the Atlantic-Pacific subway station and well-worth the trip. They’re currently open seven days a week from noon to midnight. And give us a shout if you hit them up for lunch—we’re a mere two blocks away!
Below: The Iron Man + Belly Charmer on the custom-made Brooklyn serving tray; the Iron Man; yucca fries, kale chips, and corn soup; purdy lighting; detail of the American flag panel art; Homage to Lemon; and samples of Anti Oxidant dessert MOD with single-malt bourbon banana confit, chocolate fig marmalade, and fresh mint.