When in Dumbo… I ended up in Dumbo for a social media networking event that promised to offer free food and an open bar and the possibility of some good networking. None of these panned out too well, though I did get a free Bud Light (yeah!). To salvage the fact that I found myself in Dumbo, I figured I’d try Vinegar Hill House.
My first impression was that I was going to like this place. The interior is quaint and warm, with dim lighting to boot, and it is decorated like it is a room in someone’s house. It definitely has a very Brooklyn vibe to it, as well: think classy, upscale food meets a casual, borderline hipster environment. It’s also the kind of place that’s perfect for a date – luckily I was with one of my best friends (so close enough). Though there was an hour wait, we were told we could grab drinks and sit outside in their back patio area, equally as quaint to the inside.
My favorite thing to note outside of the food was that our waiter gave us the option of how we wanted our food delivered. Since we ordered all the food to share, he asked if we wanted our pasta course and the entree at the same time or as two separate courses following the appetizer. We opted for each item to be delivered as its own course, which allowed us to focus on each dish separately. I thought this was incredibly thoughtful.
Navy Grog: There are four cocktails on the drinks menu. This was described as flor de cana, goslings, grapefruit and honey. Though the combination sounds like it would be really great… it wasn’t. There was something off with this drink. I’ll have to get something different next time.
Charred Pork Belly: This was a watercress salad with pumpkin seeds and chunks of pork belly over a masa flatbread under sour cream. The mix of flavors and textures in this were really good. There was the bitterness of the watercress (like arugula) with the crunch of the pumpkin seeds, the salty pork belly, and the creamy, cooling sour cream. My only complaint was I thought there would be more of a pork belly presence on the plate… the chunks were small.
Pappardelle: This had garden snails, artichokes, garlic, cream and basil. Though the dish was good, there was nothing amazing about it either. However, the sauce was definitely the memorable factor here.
Red Wattle Country Chop over Cheddar Grits: It is no surprise that Frank Bruni, former chief restaurant critic of The New York Times, mentioned this on season three of Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” as just that. This was the most memorable dish of the night and the only one I would without a doubt go back for and want to eat again. The wattle (hog) came sliced like a steak and was cooked perfectly and had a nice crisp on the outside. The cheddar grits were great, as well. Alone they had a strong kick to them, similar to that of, I have to admit, Velveeta cheese. But that wasn’t a bad thing. And when you mixed a bite of pork with the grits at the same time it was a very nice combination! This is the dish to get if you go there!
Smashed Potatoes: Order these! With sour cream and scallions in the mix they taste like a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips with a perfect mashed potato texture.
Guinness Chocolate Cake: This came topped with a cream cheese frosting that was honestly perfect. It had a great cream cheese flavor with an amazing creamy texture. The cake itself was eh. It was dry and chewy and it took me awhile to decide if I liked it. You shouldn’t have to think about whether you like chocolate cake. This I could have done without ordering.
Next time: Chicken Liver Mousse (which I’ve heard is amazing, but the person I was with would not have been interested in this option), Twice Cooked Veal Breast, and the Roasted Beets.
Vinegar Hill House:72 Husdon Ave., Brooklyn, NY ($$)