Most of us food people here in NYC are accustomed to bouts of choice paralysis: the experience of being so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of menu options that choosing something feels impossible. Truly, who among us hasn’t sparred with a partner or parent over deciding what to eat for a given meal?
Enter the Whole Bowl to save the day, along with a lot of your time, some of your money and perhaps a bit of your sanity.
Brooklyn’s newest fast-casual café, which recently opened its 12th location (and first on the East Coast) in Williamsburg, offers just one menu item: a nut-free, gluten-free vegetarian bowl filled with brown rice, avocado, black and red beans, Tillamook cheddar cheese, black olives, sour cream, cilantro, salsa and their trademark “Tali sauce”—a secret recipe that reportedly took founder Tali Ovadia two years to perfect.
Why only one menu item? According to Adam Sturm, Ovadia’s partner, “There’s a demand for vegetarian/vegan-friendly food that is unpretentious, uncomplicated and delicious—and that’s what we do! There’s a reason we only offer one thing on the menu.”
Which is not to say you don’t have to make any decisions at the Whole Bowl; the signature dish is available in four sizes—the Bambino Bowl (12 ounces; $8.95), the Big Bowl (16 ounces; $9.95), the Insatiabowl (24 ounces; $11.95) and the Hyperbowle, a monster platter that feeds 8 to 10 people ($69.95)—so you’ll have to assess the heartiness of your appetite, or the size of your crew, when ordering. You’re welcome to “veganize” your bowl by omitting the dairy ingredients, and tortilla chips are available for a couple extra bucks if you’re anything like me and generally prefer utilizing edible (and sustainable!) utensils whenever possible.
The Whole Bowl is open daily from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. and seats up to 17 guests, making it an excellent option for an affordable sit-down lunch or dinner just about any day.
Photos courtesy of the Whole Bowl.