This past weekend, Katie + I made a quick, daylong stop at home here in Los Angeles after our trip up the California coast before heading back to New York for a long-awaited event—the opening of the new vegan restaurant Modern Love Brooklyn.
MLBK is the collaborative effort of three of our friends—sisters Erica + Sara Kubersky of MooShoes and Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a celebrated vegan cookbook author, chef, and all-around OG in the vegan community, creating and co-hosting a cable access vegan cooking show in the aughts called Post Punk Kitchen.
Isa opened her first Modern Love in 2014 in her now-home of Omaha, Nebraska, choosing a path that was far from what might be considered preaching-to-the-choir and opening in New York or LA or another metropolitan area already abound with animal-free eating. But the Brooklyn native’s roots run deep and she’s always wanted a returning to home for her cooking. Pair that with the fact that Erica + Sara, who grew up in Queens, have long sought a vegan restaurant venture in New York, and you’ve got magic—13 years after the first episode of Post Punk Kitchen aired on New York community access television, Modern Love Brooklyn opened it’s doors in Williamsburg to a crowd of friends and family of which we were delighted and proud to be counted.
All parties involved in MLBK wanted the restaurant to reflect its place and regional culture just as its predecessor in Omaha does, so the menu focuses on plant-based comfort foods, much of which has roots in the shared Eastern European cuisine both Isa and the Kubersky sisters enjoyed growing up—vegan latkes, blintzes, chops + applesauce, a Niçoise with deviled potatoes, root vegetables aplenty. But they don’t take the inspirations as rigid guidelines, allowing them to pull from other popular cuisines with a beautiful Italian lasagna that boasts handmade noodles, a take on New England chowder a surf + turf, and the ever-in these days—shishitos, which they do beautifully.
The menu will likely shift with the seasons, but even if it didn’t, everything we had was crave-able enough to keep around for good. That said, we’d recommend getting there soon in case some favorites do leave the menu—again, everything was great, but our favorites of what we had were the latkes, the truffled poutine, the grilled caesar, the hearty chops + applesauce, the mac, and the lasagna (I know, a lot). And seriously—we’re not just saying all of that because we’re all pals. We were able to come in twice while we were in town, and it’s all truly beautifully done, really wonderful food. Vegan or not, we highly recommend going. For all you celiacs + gluten-free out there, there’s a vested interest in the menu being extremely GF-friendly, with deliberate kitchen practices to minimize cross-contamination on the gluten-free menu items.
MLBK is located at 317 Union Avenue right by the Metropolitan G and currently open Wednesday to Sunday, 530 – 10PM. They’re serving dinner only right now but brunch should follow shortly; then a lunch service soon after.
All photos by our gracious + talented friend, Justin. Below, Erica, Isa, and Sara; Seitan Chops + Applesauce—rosemary breaded seitan, gingery sweet potatoes, pink applesauce, seared brussels sprouts; Mac + Shews (gf)—creamy cashew cheese, pecan-cornmeal crusted tofu, BBQ cauliflower, sautéed kale, tomato vinaigrette, spiced pecans; Surf + Turf—glam chowder, herb grilled seitan, seared radish, wilted mustard greens, popcorn cauliflower; Grilled Caesar (gf)—grilled romaine, garlic caper dressing, polenta croutons, peptic parmesan; Blistered Shishitos (gf)—edamame mint hummus, frisee, parsley oil; Zaatar Pretzels—baba ganoush, chili oil, preserved lemon, sumac; Wild Mushroom Blintz—buckwheat crepe, smashed beet relish, almond ricotta, kasha arugula salad; our friend Agatha + Erica; and us looking tough in front of the MLBK mural.