Checking in on the Vegetarian Offerings at Bed-Stuy's Saraghina

The Vegetarian Option

Dining out meat-free.

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The popular wood-fired pizza joint serves up straightforward but tasty salads and panini, making Saraghina a good option for a meat-free meal. [Photographs: Lauren Rothman]

It's been a while since we headed to Saraghina, the popular wood-fired pizza joint in Brooklyn's Bed-Stuy. Pizza is almost always a great option for vegetarians, and when Adam headed to Saraghina a few years back he gave a moderately enthusiastic thumbs-up to the choices available there, four of which are meat-free. But since you're probably good at imagining what marinara, margherita and roasted veggie-topped pies taste like, I decided to stop by and sample a few other vegetarian options.

Saraghina offers several bountiful main course salads, a good handful of which are veg-friendly. I started with the Romana ($10, pictured at top), a light, lively mix of crisp, peppery arugula, thinly-shaved Bosc pears, and sweet, licoricey fennel, all topped with a generous helping of nutty, high-quality Parmesan. True, this is Salad 101, but the key here is balance—the right amount of each ingredient, a good level of seasoning—and this salad had that, and was slicked to the appropriate degree with a tangy, lemony dressing.

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Next up was the Cubana ($10), a puzzingly-named but similarly satisfying combination of red watercress, ripe avocado, toasty whole walnuts, and creamy goat cheese. I don't know what was Cuban about this salad, but I really enjoyed it: it was my first time tasting red watercress, which is juicy and a little spicy, and, again, all of the ingredients, though simple, were fresh, balanced, and well-dressed with the same lemony vinaigrette.

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Saraghina's sandwich section offers two vegetarian panini; a whole sandwich comes with a side salad of that red watercress. I opted for the straightforwardly-titled Vegetariano ($9), a crisp griddled baguette stuffed with roasted plum tomatoes, super-thin, tender slices of grilled eggplant, and plenty of milky, melty mozzarella cheese. Again: if I had the time and inclination, I could make this sandwich at home and it would probably taste exactly the same; there's no secret or magic to this panini. But when I'm out with friends enjoying a meal, it's a tasty, if simple, lunchtime option.

These salads and panini are simple but go down easy, and, along with the café's many pizza choices, make Saraghina a good option for a tasty meat-free meal.