If you're unclear as to what exactly's going on here at 17 Wyckoff Avenue—a dimly-lit, recessed barstaurant(?)/dance club(??) located in the heart of the Jefftown party zone—well, you're not alone. I went twice last Saturday night, early and then late, and still don't really get the concept. However, I thoroughly enjoyed myself for very different reasons on both visits.
Backing up a bit, the venue in question is called The Gradient, which you'd only know if you saw the back of the sidewalk chalkboard hyping "Bud Lits 🔥."
Part of the problem is that the main room is set back from the street—there's a weird, mostly useless foyer area up front—and, when you peer in, there are no proper tables set up, so what you mainly see is an empty concrete floor. They've kind of half-assed the sidewalk seating, too, and the food menus are tucked behind the bar, so there's really nothing to indicate that you can sit down and eat a full meal here.... much less a very good vegetarian or vegan meal, which is their menu's focus.
I had to ask the bartender at least six questions before I understood the logistics, so here are the answers to spare you the trouble: there's no table service, you order food at the bar (after asking for the hidden menu), someone will bring your meal to you, you can either pay up front or run a tab. If you sit outside, which is clearly the best place to be when the weather's nice, make sure you tell them so no one gets lost.
And the food here is great! I happily munched my way through three things on the "Night" menu (the "Day" menu is similar, but with a couple of brunch dishes added to the mix), and all of them far exceeded expectations. The Nachos, for instance, featured some excellent housemade tortilla chips, all slathered with black beans, a generous mound of guacamole, and ribbons of creamy cashew-based cheese sauce, with pico de gallo and jalapeños adding some bite.
The Gradient Burger, made with a hefty Beyond Meat-brand patty (it's plant-based but somehow juicy, with no soy or gluten), really satisfied, topped with melted faux-Gruyere, mushrooms and onions, and a potent herb and garlic special sauce. And the accompanying tower of fries—no extra charge!—were plenty salty and a respectable entry into genre. For a smaller snack, order the Arepitas, which are both crisp and chewy and particularly good when dredged through the thick avocado and lime dip.
So that's all that, but The Gradient doesn't want to be a good, unfussy vegetarian restaurant. It wants to be LIT. To that end, every night at 11 p.m. (or before... like a lot things here, it's a little vague when the beats drop), they turn they place into a dance club, DJ included. When I stopped by at around midnight on Saturday the open space, which had been virtually empty at prime dinnertime, was impressively packed with revelers. This may not be your thing, but if you do like to dance to loud hip-hop, there's no cover or really anyone at the door so you can just pop in and kick it for as long as want and then leave. (And if you do want food, get there before 11 p.m.)
It's lit. (Scott Litnych / Gothamist)
The Gradient is located at 17 Wyckoff Avenue, between Troutman and Jefferson Streets, and open for food, booze, and partying on Monday through Thursday from noon to 2 a.m., on Friday from noon to 4 a.m., on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m., and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (718-456-1700; thegradientbk.com)