In The Midnight Hour: Foodswings
Open Until: 11:00 pm, Sun-Mon; 12:00 am, Tue-Thu; 2:00 am, Fri-Sat
National holidays are a great time for culturual self-reflection, and after a long weekend filled with the noble civic duty of eating as much as my body could reasonably handle without risking diabetes, I realized something: this is America (gosh darnit!), and vegans should be just as entitled to ruin their bodies with junk food as their animal-eating kinsfolk (Freegans can shove it). Williamsburg's Foodswings helps make that dream a seitan-filled reality.
Keeping in line with their casual, fried food-heavy menu, the dining room is done up like a hipster cafeteria, with checkered tile floors and generic black tables and chairs. Walls are mostly sparse, save for the back wall that hides the kitchen which displays the menu in colored chalk that pops against its black background. A cooler sits on the service counter stocked with vegan ice creams for when that inevitable vegan ice cream craving hits after the Bikram yoga singles mixer (we've all been there).
One of the benefits of using any of the faux-meat proteins is that the same product can be molded into whatever shape the creator sees fit, depending on the kind of animal it's substituting. In Foodswings' case, the most popular shape is America's favorite bar food: the chicken wing. Drumsticks ($2.50 each) come in a stoner's mishmash of flavors—there's Buffalo, BBQ, Southern Fried, and a combination of the two, "Sweet Southern Fried BBQ". If $2.50 a pop sounds a little steep, the blow is softened by the sheer size of these things, just a few shades smaller than those infamous Disney turkey legs. The wings do a solid job of standing in for their fowl counterparts. The hot sauce that coats the Buffalo wings is spot-on piquant, and the Southern Fried version maintained a pleasing crispness throughout. Both barbecue varieties utilize a well-balanced sauce; the Sweet Southern Fried number practically drowning in it.
Disco fries are a tri-state area staple, and they're available here, but so are Punk fries (with Daiya "cheese" and facon bits) and Metal fries ($4.50), which finds barely crunchy fries smothered in a mixture of fake blue cheese, fake cheddar and Buffalo sauce. The dish offers a decent creamy spice, but the fake cheese sauces fell short of the desired texture that dairy cheese fries have. It's a fine plate for a vegan, but we'll take the real deal. On the other hand, the corn dog ($3.50) nearly surpasses the Coney Island original, with an herb-studded cornmeal batter that boosts the flimsy meatless weenie within (also the title of my self-help book).
What would a junk food shop be without a selection of decadent desserts? Here they offer a generous selection of milkshakes ($4-6.75), which come in fun combinations boasting cheeky names like Jailbait (cherry and vanilla ice cream) and the Trainwreck (strawberry ice cream, peanut butter and cookies), and it's this playfulness that runs through the heart of the restaurant. Foodswings proudly serves unhealthy healthy food, with just enough ironic winking to fit in with its surroundings.
About the author: Zachary Feldman is a former debutante and current freelance writer. He makes hand-crafted, small batch bitters under the moniker Bitters, Old Men.