With an emphasis on grains, legumes, and the protein power of yogurt, Middle Eastern food has always been a reliable option for vegetarians. Williamsburg takeout spot La Goulette certainly applies, and its Tunisian approach is a refreshing change-up from the city's casual falafel and shawarma joints.
The menu, though, is uneven, so choose your dishes carefully. Tunisian Carrot Salad ($8) comes with shreds of raw carrots and a bottled-tasting vinaigrette. The fries, though hand-cut, are oily and soft.
But there are some sure stunners to balance them out, like a side order of Roasted Cauliflower and Artichokes ($5) spooned over a generous schmear of pristine milky labneh, that glorious strained yogurt that's tangy and rich all at the same time. The well-browned vegetables are tender and nicely seasoned, dressed with nutty tahini, and strewn with fresh herbs and peppery scallions. This dish—bright and full of flavor, with several contrasting textures—is a perfect example of how simple yet satisfying this cuisine can be, and was a delight mashed into warm triangles of pita bread.
Freshly fried Falafel ($5) is exceptionally crisp and loaded with fresh herbs that lend a bright green color to the fritters' interior. In a landscape of all-too-often-mediocre falafel that are usually under-seasoned or under-fried, these greaseless chickpea patties really stand out.
La Goulette offers a selection of smoothies and juices, so to wash everything down I chose the house shake, La Goulette ($5), a blend of bananas, dates and milk that was creamy, ice-cold and not too sweet.
Though a few of its menu items could stand to be improved, I'll rule in favor of La Goulette for its extensive vegetarian offerings, its fast and friendly service, and its more-than-fair prices.
159 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 347-689-4126 http://lagoulettewilliamsburg.com/