We are so, so thankful that restaurants are opening up and getting back into the swing of things right now, and even though only outdoor dining is allowed at the moment, the warm weather and sidewalk space around the city are allowing for restaurants to get creative and serve as many people as they possibly can.  That means we’ve been trying a bunch of places, and today we’re going to feature two restaurants in Williamsburg that we’ve checked out in the past few weeks.  These two spots are about half a mile from each other and serve very different cuisines, showcasing just some of the excellent foods from a variety of cultures that are on offer in Brooklyn.  Before we begin, we just want to note that there is one image of meat in this post.

The first place we went was Kokomo, a new restaurant near the waterfront that gets its name from the Beach Boys song about a fictional island in the Caribbean Sea.  Caribbean food can sometimes be meat-heavy, but thanks to the influence of Rastafarianism in the region – which encourages its followers not to eat animals – you can often find at least a few vegetarian menu items at restaurants.  So here’s what we started our meal off with:  a flatbread, cooked in a wood-fired oven, topped with the region’s famous Rasta Pasta.  Essentially, it’s a baked dough covered with pasta and peppers in a creamy sauce.




Then Miriam had lentil meatballs over a ginger and coconut curry sauce.


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And Cyril went with the braised oxtails.




Now if you head a few blocks east you’ll get to Reunion, a local Israeli restaurant.  Like the Rastafarians, Jewish people also interpret parts of the Old Testament as a guide to how they should eat, and Kosher law requires that meat and milk products should never be a part of the same dish.  That rule has given rise to a wealth of vegetarian Israeli foods, so that those who keep Kosher can enjoy dairy without worrying about contaminating their food with meat.  We were able to eat a completely vegetarian meal at Reunion, starting with this crispy cauliflower marinated in a spicy harissa sauce.


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Miriam tried the falafel burger, with a side salad …




… and Cyril had one of the specials of the day:  beet ravioli, stuffed with mozzarella and labneh (a type of Middle Eastern yogurt), in a creamy sauce.




We were so happy to see both of these places open for sidewalk dining, and we’re glad we got a chance to try them out.  Since both Caribbean and Israeli cultures look to the same part of the Bible for guidance on food, both these cuisines end up being a pretty good bet for vegetarians, and these two spots really showcased good meat-free dishes.  There’s a lot a restaurants you can visit in Williamsburg, but we chose Kokomo and Reunion because of their unique offerings, so we hope this helps you figure out some places in the neighborhood to support right now.