1/2 Waiting long enough after an opening and long enough past prime dinner time can make dining at popular Brooklyn restaurants more enjoyable (despite the hype and proximity to my apartment, there is no way I’m touching Seersucker in the immediate future–I learned my lesson with patience-trying Thistle Hill Tavern). Of course, that also means that no one in the online world cares because not-so-new equals dull. That is fine; I’ll take seven-month-old, The Vanderbilt, at 11pm on a Saturday.
I’d already eaten pepperoni pizza and a few bites of a reuben earlier at Rocky Sullivan’s while trying to be a semi-sophisticated American embracing the World Cup. (I don’t watch sports period, and frankly, don’t understand where World Cup mania sprouted from all of a sudden.) A small plates dinner and cocktails were fine.
You would think that someone ordering the Whiskey Skiffer (rye whiskey, Cynar, sweet vermouth, mole-amarillo bitters) would know what they were getting into. Clearly not, since our server warned me, “It’s bitter.” Better safe than sorry for him, I guess. Then again, the last Cynar cocktail I had at The Sackett (what’s up with all the The?) was kind of foul.
Maybe it was because I’d just had a few handfuls of movie theater popcorn while watching Please Give, but this wonderfully oily broccoli with singed edges reminded me of Smartfood. Each pecorino-draped bite oozed olive oil and had a delicious crunch.
The Serrano croquettes actually tasted like ham. You never know if you’re going to get a bready mouthful or be able to distinguish the advertised filling. Plus, the aioli dollop was a nice touch.
All that brown needed a hit of green. It was the boudin noir that attracted me to this dish, but the fresh peas and shoots kept the blood sausage from overpowering.
Even if you know rillettes come packed in fat, seeing so much melted animal product can give you pause. I like mine a little stiffer and opaque, more spreadable. The rhubarb preserves did add a nice sweet tartness.
The Vanderbilt * 570 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY