e I recently took a trip out to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to check out Foodswings, the vegan fast food restaurant. It was recommended to me by a friend, and I have to admit, I was intrigued by their menu, which has vegetarian spins on lots of things I usually can’t eat, like drumsticks, hot dogs, etc. Overall, though, I wasn’t that impressed. If you’re already in the area, I suppose you could swing by the place, but if you are looking for great vegetarian food in Brooklyn or even Williamsburg, don’t go out of your way to go to Foodswings.There are lots of “fake meat” types of food that are pretty readily available. Virtually every restaurant that sells burgers — including some pretty meat-heavy restaurants — has some sort of veggie burger option. You can even get veggie hot dogs at a number of places. What I was attracted to on the Foodswings menu were a few things that are pretty hard to find in vegetarian form: sliders, fries with gravy and cheese, and “drumsticks”.
The vegan slider was probably the best of the lot. Curiously, although you can get veggie burgers, even home-made veggie burgers, at lots of restaurants that serve sliders, very few places serve true vegetarian sliders. (Some places serve falafel on a bun and call it a mini-burger; this doesn’t count.) Anyway, the patty was smaller than a regular veggie burger and slightly crispy on the outside; it appears to have been fried. I’m not really a fan of the frying, but at least this wasn’t too greasy. The patty was topped with soy cheese, a slice of tomato, and a pickle (not pictured).
I was probably most excited about the Disco Fries — french fries with vegan gravy and cheese. I was imagining here a sort of “vegan poutine”. (Though, apparently, the gravy involved in poutine is vegan? I didn’t know that.) Anyway, whatever it was supposed to be, it wasn’t particularly good. The “gravy” was very dry and bland, and it suffocated the french fries. The cheese wasn’t compelling, either. The fries themselves were actually decent, but they were overwhelmed by the cheese and gravy, both of which brought down the average considerably.
I was most excited about the “drumsticks”. I got three kinds: Buffalo style, BBQ, and Southern Fried. Of the three, only the Buffalo style was noteworthy. First of all, as a vegetarian, I don’t come across many opportunities to have something made with Buffalo sauce, so that itself was nice. The Buffalo style drumsticks were fried and crispy, and the sauce added some kick. The Southern Fried drumsticks were rather bland, and the flavor was dominated by the “crunch” and not much else. I didn’t particularly care for the BBQ.
I was amused by one thing: the drumsticks had a “bone” in them. The “bone” was a small piece of wood, and it looks like the soy protein was formed around it. I particularly liked the warning on the menu, that the “bones” were not edible, and that they “may present a choking hazard to small children, the elderly & the intoxicated”.
I washed down my meal with some seltzer — true seltzer, to be exact — but maybe Foodswings is on to something with the “intoxicated” comment. They even have a late night “Midnight Munchies” menu that presumably caters to the bar-hopping crowd. At noon on a Saturday, my palate is probably a lot more discerning that at midnight on a Saturday. Maybe Foodswings’s target audience is the person who is “out and about” late at night, not necessarily someone looking for a full meal.
All that said, there is one big qualification: I can only eat so much. At some restaurants, there are so few vegetarian options that I feel like I can get a good sense of the place with just one visit. Here, there were lots of things I didn’t get, including most notably anything with tempeh or seitan. And there are a variety of “chicken” items that could be good.
Still, I wasn’t too impressed with my first visit to Foodswings. I might stop by if I was already in the area — maybe on the way back from the bars. The food seems okay, but not worth a trip out to Williamsburg.