The next time you're cruising Bedford Avenue sipping an almond milk cortado and googling seitan burger recipes, it might be worth your while to stop into Dr-Cow, a freshly-minted food and supplement shop specializing in vegan cheese. That's right, vegan cheese; no cows, goats, sheep, or human breasts involved.
Dr-Cow has been selling its varieties of faux-cheese in wholesale capacities for years (check out this fawning 2008 VegNews write-up for some background), but the company's retail counter has only been active on South 6th Street since this spring. Inside, a bevy of nut spreads cut into cheese-like shapes greet customers, many of them flavored with Superfood™-ish ingredients like dulse, hemp seed, algae, and kale, naturally. Cream Cashew Cheese spreads are also readily available and skew toward the savory side.
But how do they taste? The Gothamist staff gave the kale cashew cheese and chive cream spread mixed reviews, primarily on account of an unexpected texture and sour tang that dominated both. "Calling this product 'cheese' means I already have an expectation for greatness, because cheese is the best food of all time," Food Editor Nell Casey noted with disappointment after sampling both nut cheeses. It should be thoroughly stressed, though, that most Gothamist staffers don't regularly seek vegan foods—with one notable exception—and it's quite possible that, compared to other dairy-free cheese substitutes, Dr-Cow knocks it out of the park.
Intern Shayla Love, a longtime vegetarian, said she "would definitely eat [the nut cheese] on a bagel or other doughy vessel." She went on to describe other sorts of vegan cheese as disappointing packs of "slightly yellow flakes" and was happy to learn that Dr-Cow was using nuts in what has become a soy-dominated vegan food market.
"I was missing that taste and that feeling of having cheese and jam with bread," owner Pablo Castro told us during our visit. "We've also been working on a blue-style cheese, but it's not quite ready yet."
The shop also proffers a wide array of supplements, homemade granola, and a dessert selection of dairy-free cheesecake and tiramisu. With a menu that boasts 100% organic ingredients and a dairy-esque production process that includes curdling, fermenting, and aging, the nutty buoy amidst the milky cheese seas has much to offer for vegans and the lactose-intolerant. For those with no qualms about enjoying a nice camembert or brie, we recommend proceeding with care.
Dr-Cow / 93 South 6th Street, Brooklyn / Monday-Sunday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.