Apr 08 2011
A Vegetarian Lunch: Bark
On one of our very first weekends in Brooklyn (back in November 2009!), we took the 3 train to Park Slope to explore. After browsing Brooklyn Larder, we rounded the corner and spotted Bark (in fact, I even posted about this--see my picture here.). I remember immediately feeling enamored with the place, from the name to the posted menu on the window, with its grid layout and amazing typography.
We promised ourselves we'd be back. But in the period between that November day and our return trip a few weeks later, I had decided to become a vegetarian. Justin ordered a hot dog (and raved about it) and I ordered a veggie dog. I was so put off by my veggie dog that we actually didn't go back to Bark until we moved to Park Slope this past November. Seriously? Yes. I thought the veggie dogs were my only vegetarian option, and I just couldn't deal with that greenish, cylindrical thing in a bun. I couldn't.
Since moving to Park Slope, we've eaten at Bark over 10 times.
So what changed? Am I now a meat eater? Nope, not right now. Did I get over my aversion to cylindrical weirdly colored veggie dogs? Definitely not. (As an aside, on one of our recent visits, the runner brought me a veggie dog instead of a veggie burger. Maybe she saw my face blanch as she set the tray down, but did attempt to encourage me to try it, saying she preferred it to the veggie burger. I promptly covered it with a napkin.)
If you haven't guessed already, we now go to Bark so frequently because we love their veggie burger ($7.50). The veggie burger is crispy on the outside and filled with edamame, sprouts, lettuce, and more. Justin still alternates with ordering a hot dog or a burger, too. All of Bark's ingredients are conscientiously sourced. The veggie burger bun is from Amy's Bread, the beef is from Dickson's, the pork is from Heritage Foods. (For even more sourcing information, see the picture below or Bark's Facebook page).
The veggie burger, with a side of fries, serves as one of the most filling vegetarian lunches I've had. And while adding the fries certainly doesn't make it the most healthy meal (though the fries are deliciously crispy and taste just like potatoes), one of the things I miss most about eating meat is enjoying the condiments that go with meat dishes: ketchup, mustard, relish, pickles. When I order the Bark veggie burger, I add all of the condiments I can.
Bark's other vegetarian lunch options are the aforementioned veggie dog ($7.00) and a Grafton Cheddar grilled cheese sandwich ($5.00). One final word about the veggie dog: I'm in the clear minority with my reaction. If you type Bark veggie dog into Google, you'll quickly see how many people love the dog and are grateful for a vegetarian hot dog option. And honestly, my problem with it wasn't the taste, but rather the appearance.
Bark is a casual restaurant that takes their ingredients and environmental impact seriously. As they say in their motto, they believe "that good food and good business is a sum of its parts". Bark composts all of their waste, recycles, and uses biodegradable materials and sustainable cleaning products. Every neighborhood should have a casual restaurant like this--one where you can literally bring the whole family (Sixpoint is on tap if the children get extra loud!). My hunch is that Bark is considering expanding to another neighborhood. They recently added a Park Slope seal to the top of their menu. A sign for future expansion? In this case, I can only hope!
Cuisine: Hot dogs, burgers, amazing milk shakes and fries
Setting: Casual, Bright, Loud, Family-friendly
Vegetarian Options: A veggie burger, veggie dog, and grilled cheese
Cost: around $12