I’ve been meaning to try The Vanderbilt since it opened a few years ago. Crowds always fill this place for dinner and I haven’t had the chance to try its reputed goodness, so we decided to try it for brunch one Sunday.
The Slinger – hashbrowns, chili, fried egg, cheddar cheese.
I love brunch and believe it’s a good excuse to socialize. I’ve been a big fan of the offerings at Stone Park , Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and at Frankie’s. But I’m also aware of The Brunch Phenomenon, where some restaurants seem to feel that the meal is an excuse to serve a $15 omelet. I still don’t know how I feel about The Vanderbilt.
Did they just start serving brunch? I ask because we walked in early to beat the crowds at 11 am, and were happy that our server took our order for alcohol then (you can read about the medieval Blue Law here). A couple of us ordered alcohol as our selected prix fixe drinks, only to be told by the server when our meals were already on their way that they can’t serve the alcohol until 12. We didn’t want them to break the rule, but to just to inform guests right away. This misstep caused confusion in our table, changed orders, and disappointment when the server said it might be too late to accommodate some requests. It was also the same server who informed us that chamomile tea is caffeinated but earl gray is not.
Fried shishito peppers
But fine. You can’t fault the food because of the service. The Slinger was the crowd favorite, with the perfectly runny egg over chili. I loved the shishito peppers because everyone got a hot one except for me. The French toast was large and in charge, the burger was huge though not very tasty. The smoked trout crepe was so tiny and swimming in cream that it was offensive. Perhaps it was a fluke, but there were two tiny pieces of fish in each crepe. I think they should have called it smoked trout FLAVORED crepe instead.
Smoked Trout Crepe – melted leeks, trout roe, sunnyside egg. A plate of sadness. No no no no no.
At one point, a strange server lady began lingering around our table and oddly grabbed the plates of those who had paused during their meal. It was so awkward that when she would approach us, we weren’t sure if she was going to adjust a window or something on the wall. Then she would take a plate! It was a little comical.
I hate being disappointed at restaurants and I just felt that The Vanderbilt could have done better, but then when I write about it I feel like I’m nitpicking. Maybe I am. So I’ll just tell you what we did next. We went home and figured out what we could make for ourselves because we were still hungry after a $25/person bill without drinks. That might sum up my Vanderbilt experience. You be the judge. I’ll try them again, maybe for dinner at one point. Maybe they’re better later in the day? Everyone is prettier at night.
570 Vanderbilt Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11238