Friday, March 19, 2010

Girls just wanna have fun

The Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt @ Bergen (Prospect Heights, BK)

Charcuterie plate at The Vanderbilt
Dinner this time. If you haven't signed up at Blackboard Eats yet, you're missing out! They offer coupons for different restaurants, usually 30% off your bill but also, like The Vanderbilt, a free appetizer or bottle of wine. So worth it, for restaurants you already love and also as incentive to try others. We've used coupons at Hill Country and Braeburn, and last night my coupon for the Vanderbilt was set to expire so Mike and I headed there to meet Alex for dinner after the opening of Ryan McGinley's newest gallery show.

The Blackboard Eats deal was a free charcuterie plate portioned out for each member of the party. This included pate on toast, lardons on garlic crostini, house cured bacon and some strips of fatty, salty duck confit.

Alex: This place hasn't disappointed yet. I'm glad to have a reliable spot in the neighborhood (well close enough at least) for a solid meal.

Oreilles de Christ at The Vanderbilt
As another appetizer we tried the Oreilles de Christ (Ears of Christ), which were basically pork rinds served with personal eyedroppers filled with a super spicy pineapple-chili sauce. It wasn't bad, but I don't think I'd order it again as it didn't really do anything for me. Pork rinds = pork rinds, basically.

Alex: The actual pork rinds were pretty bland, but the sauce was spiiiiiiiiiiiicy! Whew, I'm sweating just thinking about it.

Duck Confit Special with Pan-fried Spaetzle at The Vanderbilt
Alex's dinner, duck confit atop pan-fried spaetzle. I'm not a huge fan of spaetzle but I tried some and these were really good, a little crunchy on the outside.

Alex: I loved this dish. Usually duck is too fatty for me (I know, I know, I'm a weirdo) but this was just right. The meat was cooked to the just-before-it-got-dry point, so it was firm but still moist and flavorful. The waiter said they serve almost tapas style plates, but this was a whole lot of food.

Hanger Steak at The Vanderbilt
Mike's dinner, the hanger steak with potatoes and blue cheese wedge.

Steamed Mussels with Coconut Milk, Basil & Chili at The Vanderbilt
My dinner, steamed mussels in coconut milk with basil and chili. As most of the dishes were quite small, I was surprised at how many mussels came in this order.

I dug all the mussels out of their shells
Here they are all undressed.

They suggest 2-3 plates per person but with what we ordered, it was more than enough. If you wanted to do an hors d'ouevres-sized dish and a "main," I think you'd be set, with enough room for dessert:

Donuts with Pistachio Ice Cream & Apricot Orange Blossom Coulis at The Vanderbilt
Spiced donuts with pistachio ice cream and apricot-orange blossom coulis. A little disappointing as these were cake donuts, which I'm not a huge fan of. Flavor was great, but I wasn't feeling the texture. The donuts were a little crumbly.

Alex: Unfortunately, I didn't think this dessert was that great either. My feelings were just the opposite of Alexis'. I thought the flavor was bland considering all of the ingredients. Nothing really stood out.

So far this spot has been great both times we've eaten here. One big plus is that the staff really makes the effort to give good service. They're friendly, they're all very helpful, and our we never saw the bottoms of our water glasses.

It's the little things, folks.

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