Another great spot to check out in Williamsburg
Black Flamingo, located in Williamsburg, is a chic, vegetarian/vegan restaurant influenced by a lot of Spanish flavors. Upon entering this place, you look around and immediately get this sort of homey, relaxed vibe. It gives off a very welcoming energy. Also, to add on to that, the entire wait staff consists of the friendliest people around, greeting you with warm smiles and a lot of energy as you walk in. And what makes this place even better is that the type of music that they choose to play is this sort of mellow house type of music that will either mellow you out or get you dancing in your seat.
Black Flamingo, upon first glance at the drink menu, has some very unique and intriguing drinks to choose from. One of my personal favorites was the Margaret Louise, a champagne cocktail made with Aperol, mango puree, and champagne. However simple this drink may seem, it had a lot going on. You get a hint of the classic champagne taste but it really tastes like a mango with bubbles in it. It is light, fruity, and very refreshing, which makes it the perfect cooldown drink if you’re feeling like taking on some of the heavier dishes this place has to offer. And if you’re looking for something stronger but just as tasty, definitely try the Blood on the Sun which is made from light rum, dark rum, lemon, orange, apricot syrup, orgeat, and bitters. As soon as your server brings this drink over, take a picture of it because it is one of the prettiest looking drinks out there. But beware, behind all the sweet fruity components to this drink lies a big kick at the end from all the rum. Needless to say, if you are looking for something that hits hard but leaves a nice taste on your tongue, this drink is for you.
Black Flamingo’s menu is divided into several categories: picadas, cold plates, flamingo tacos, and hot plates. As far as the picada goes, I went with warm olives, homemade pickles, and the beet pickled quail eggs and on the side were some gluten free crackers. The warm olives were good; they had a good brininess to it, were very moist, and had a lot of flavor to it. The homemade pickles were also very good, consisting of pickled carrots and green beans. It almost tasted like Korean kimchi with the sourness and acidity to it and the fact that these pickles also packed a little bit of heat to it at the very end. But, my overall favorite was the beet pickled quail eggs. On its own, the eggs were creamy and smooth and absorbed a lot of the beet flavor that it was pickled in. It had a really good acidity to it without being too sour and paired with the crackers gave the overall combo a nice crunch to it.
For the cold plates, the dish that was recommended by the waiter was the esquites. This dish is made up of fresh charred corn, habanero, aioli, lime, spices, cilantro, and cotija cheese (for vegan eater almond parmesan is available as a substitute), and all these ingredients put together gave this dish a very earthy yet refreshing flavor profile. Being a cold dish, in my opinion, let all the components shine and each ingredient was distinct and you can really make out where each flavor is coming from. The corn was plump and juicy but had a nice char to it to give it a subtle smoky flavor and the spices added into the dish really came through at the very back of your tongue at the last note. The cheese was also a good addition to the dish because it added a lot of flavor to the dish while also still letting the dish be light and refreshing. Also, adding the lime on the side gives this dish a burst of bright acidic flavor that really enhances the flavors of all the ingredients.
The tacos here at Black Flamingo are to die for. There are a total of five tasty options to choose from and whatever choice you make will treat you to something delicious. The Bahn Mi taco, made of miso and lager tofu, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro-chive aioli, sriracha, and fresh cilantro was a standout from the menu. When you first take a bite, you are hit with so much flavor that you don’t know what to make of it. But when you revisit this delicious taco, you can really taste the Asian flavor profiles and the Spanish flavor profiles and how they really meld well together in one bite. The pickles add a good acidity and crunch to the dish and the sriracha packs a lot of heat in the taco. The tofu was super tasty and full of flavor which says something because it takes a lot of skill to really make tofu taste good and have flavor. Another great taco choice is the savory shroom, made up of a crispy herb mushroom croquette, Brazilian collard, fried leek, truffle cashew crema, and pecorino cheese. The mushroom in this taco is amazing. There is a lot of natural mushroom flavor which gives it a nice earthiness but the mushroom also soaked up a lot of flavor from all the other ingredients giving it a really amazing complexity to it. Also, the truffle cashew crema added a really nice nutty flavor to it that works well with the mushrooms.
For the hot plates, the wild mushroom quesadilla made with grilled oyster mushrooms, shitake, cremini, gruyere, truffle cashew crema, cotija, and served with salsa verde and sour cream, is such a tasty dish that if you ever come to Black Flamingo then you have to try this dish. This dish has a very strong mushroom flavor and is very cheesy which is such a good thing in a quesadilla. The tortilla was grilled nicely and had a good crunch to it and paired with the salsa verde, which was sour, tart, and acidic, was the perfect balance for the heavy, cheesy, mushroom quesadilla.
For dessert they only have one option to choose from which is a trio of mini ice cream sandwiches. As simple as this may seem, the sandwich flavors were original, unique, and complex. The first one was the wild berry ice cream sandwich which gave you a lot of fresh but not too sweet, berry flavor to it. And with the sandwich cookies being coated in cinnamon, it enhanced the flavor of the berry a lot. The second sandwich was a Vietnamese coffee ice cream sandwich and this one had such a strong coffee taste with a little bit of spice to it which was much unexpected but sits nicely on a palate. The last one, for you bourbon lovers out there, is a bourbon fig ice cream sandwich. When you first bite into it you get the subtly sweet fig flavor but soon the flavor transitions to a big bourbon flavor at the very end.
Overall, Black Flamingo had a lot of great things going for it. Even though the menu is all vegetarian, you will never really miss meat at all. With great drinks, great food, and great wait staff, Black Flamingo is definitely worth the visit if you ever find yourself in Williamsburg.