Saturday, February 27, 2010

In the Heights

The Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt Ave & Bergen (Prospect Heights, BK)

I've become pretty jaded on going out to brunch - it's always the same thing wherever you go - a riff on Eggs Benedict, some omelettes, huevos rancheros, French toast, etc.

Today Alex decided to take us out to brunch and we picked a few places that looked good in Prospect Heights, which is just south of us and within walking distance.

I'd been to The Vanderbilt before, for cocktails. The cocktails were designed with help from their neighbors across the street at Weather Up (whose bartenders were trained by Sasha Petraske) and were interesting at best, but not exactly delicious.

The space is cavernous with two separate bars to eat at, one at the actual bar and one by the kitchen, diner style. There are high top tables in the front and regular ones in the back. Being on the corner, there is also a lot of natural sunlight which is a rare commodity in New York.

Several things on the menu caught my eye but we decided on:

Blistered Shishito Peppers + Pimenton Salt at The Vanderbilt
Blistered shishito peppers with lemon and pimenton salt... These were delicious to start and not too filling. They look a little scary but they were not spicy at all. Perfect for whetting your appetite.

Duck Rillets + Apple Conserve at The Vanderbilt
Duck rillets with apple conserve... This looks very small but it filled me up - not to the point of bursting, but I felt just right after eating this. You spread the rillets on the toast, then top it with a bit of apple spread. Very delicious and not heavy or too fatty at all, which I was expecting.

Grilled Hangar Steak + Rosti Potatoes + Eggs at The Vanderbilt
Grilled hanger steak with eggs and rosti rosemary potatoes... This is like the ultimate breakfast. I am a huge fan of potatoes and this crispy-on-the-outside-creamy-on-the-inside, herby potato pancake was simply delicous. I wish I'd gotten an entire side of this. The steak was tender, as hanger steak surprisingly is, and the Hollandaise appropriately creamy.

I wish we'd saved room for beignets, which I'll remember for next time.

The service is cordial and attentive without being overly so, and the servers are very knowledgeable about their dishes. I also liked that they placed our dishes with the appropriate person without having to auction them off at the table. There's no dining boner kill like a server showing up and saying, "Okay, who's got the...."

Cocktails were just okay. My bloody mary was a little thick and had to be chewed and Alex ordered the "Vandy Shandy" which is a pilsner, ginger, lemon-lime soda and bitters.

I was very pleasantly surprised with this spot - I'm hoping it continues to do well so we can keep coming back here. I'd definitely do brunch again, as well as dinner. Game?

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