Thursday, July 1, 2010
Renee has been wanting to try The Vanderbilt for some time, and I was more than happy to oblige her and come eat along. I am also falling in love with this neighborhood (Prospect Heights)- so it was fun to try one of the local spots. Here is a shot of my train going over the Manhattan bridge- I think it is hilarious that I have to go from Brooklyn --> Manhattan---->Brooklyn to get here, but hey, Renee, and good food, is totally worth it.
We were excited to take advantage of the summer happy hour menu- offered Monday through Friday from 5-7- which includes both cheap drinks and eats. We sipped some $5 glasses of wine- a nice red gamay, and then sampled a few dishes, all which are served 'tapas' style. The first was off the regular menu, a green garden gazpacho ($8), which was just amazing. We tasted zucchini, cucumber, celery, and parsley in the broth, and it was served with a lemon sorbet dollop and topped with scallions and radish. Pretty much every bite was a little party in my mouth. So light and flavorful, and they managed to perform a balancing act with the cucumber so it did not overwhelm the other flavors in the soup. It also had a creaminess to it- almost- which we had originally suspected might be from avocado, but was actually provided by the zucchini, as the waitress informed us.
Round two was the beautiful special salad pictured above- which included grilled peaches, heirloom tomatoes, purslane, basil, ricotta cheese, olive oil, sea salt, pepper, a little bit of fennel, and onion- and wowza. I can't believe this was my first grilled peach encounter, but ladies and gentleman, it will NOT be my last, that is for sure! What a phenomenal treat- both Renee and I agreed that this was pretty much a little slice o' heaven, and I was really loving it!! (PS: My food porn skills are growing nicely, this shot actually looks pretty appetizing and cool, right?!?!)
For our third and final course, we shared one of the happy hour menu items- a spring vegetable risotto ($8). There were several herbs in the parmesan risotto- including mint- which every now and then gave a nice (and surprising) burst of flavor to the dish. The vegetables included carrots, peas, and fava bean, and scallion and radish was again the perfect garnish to the flavors.
All in all, I could not complain about my experience. The food was amazing, way gourmet for the price- and introduced me to a bunch of new flavor combos and foods, which was extraordinary. Purslane, grilled peach, and mint in risotto are all now on my list of to-eat as often as possible. Kudos to this place- and I highly recommend it!!