With Thanksgiving just on the horizon, our holiday-associated cravings have officially gone into overdrive. And honestly, they have very little to do with pie and even less to do with turkey (because let’s be real here, does anyone ever actively crave turkey)? What we’re actually lusting after are buttery mashed potatoes, caramelized brussels sprouts, creamy pearled onions and marshmallow-dotted yams—veggie side dishes, in short—a particular strength at Brooklyn’s array of rustic, produce-revering restaurants. So there’s really no need to wait for the big day; get a head start on holiday binge eating with these meal-worthy, meat-free creations.
Hill Country Brooklyn’s Green Bean Casserole: Growing up Jewish, we adored the idea of this Church supper staple, liberally cloaked in a gloppy coat of Campbell’s cream of mushroom. Of course, our family staunchly refused to make it (and our goyische hubby flat out refuses to eat it), but we can finally indulge in green bean casserole at Hill Country Brooklyn, presented with the requisite topcoat of crispy fried onion strings.
345 Adams Street, Downtown Brooklyn
Char No. 4’s Smoked Corn: From whiskey to pork nuggets to steak, little escapes the smoke treatment at Char No 4. And that includes a side dish of crunchy corn kernels, tossed with spicy ancho butter, lime, and crumbles of raw sheep’s milk cheese.
196 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
The Good Fork’s Broccoli with Broccoli Cream: Instead of pulling that time-honored trick of concealing broccoli under a shroud of melted cheese, The Good Fork goes for broke with the under-appreciated cabbage, dunking florets in an emulsified cream sauce containing even more bright green broccoli.
391 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook
Purbird’s Jalapeño Mashed Potatoes: Even avowed vegetable haters make an exception for mashed potatoes, and this rotisserie chicken spot makes an especially noteworthy version, liberally spiked with lip-tingling flecks of jalapeño.
82 6th Avenue, Park Slope
Dear Bushwick’s Roasted Carrots with Medieval Nut Pesto: This homey Bushwick gastropub may specialize in hearty British dishes (iron skillet pork chops, beef neck and stilton pasties), but they’ve also demonstrated a remarkably deft hand with vegetables, namely a tumble of sweet roasted carrots, slicked with a coarsely ground pesto made with walnuts, herbs, fennel and honey.
41 Wilson Avenue, Bushwick
Lulu & Po’s Charred Long Hots: We’re so over seeing charred shishitos on the small plates section of every third restaurant, but this Fort Greene eatery offers a clever alternative; a stack of the skinny Italian frying peppers known as long hots, paired with quark cheese, a spritz of lemon and a liberal dusting of smoked sea salt.
154 Carlton Avenue, Clinton Hill
Buffalo Cauliflower at Thistle Hill Tavern: We can’t believe we’re actually going to commit this to print, but we’re not too hot on chicken wings. We like the flavor profile well enough, we’ve just never enjoyed gnawing on anemic, flabby bird joints. Which is why Dale Talde’s buffalo cauliflower is the perfect solve; fat, roasted florets of the creamy veggie, soused in a spicy, sriracha and butter-based sauce, and finished with a shower of piquant blue cheese.
441 7th Avenue, Park Slope
Aita’s Crispy Butternut Squash with Coffee Mayo: Pacifico’s Fine Foods may be nabbing the lions share of press, but don’t count out the owners original, under-appreciated Italian spot, Aita, which offers clever, seasonal contorni such as crispy spears of butternut squash, served with a malty, coffee-infused mayo.
132 Greene Avenue, Fort Greene