Brooklyn >Food & Dining > Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave., Brooklyn, NY | Directions 1120140.702712 -73.981186
Sat 11am-4pm, 6pm-11:30pm
Sun 11am-4pm, 5:30-11pm
Neighborhoods: Vinegar Hill
Secluded, rustic, and romantic (it's in an area so secluded you can hear birds chirping outside), Vinegar Hill House doesn't seem likely to have great food. After all, why bother? But the food is, amazingly, the main reason to go. The wood oven is, for once, used as an engine for cast-iron cooking and simple food made with the best possible ingredients. This is one of the best restaurants in New York, period.
A secret worth sharing – The fact that this place is not easy to find makes me like it even better. It feels like a secret hideaway with beautiful decor and amazing food served right to my personal wooden table, a secret hideaway that everyone seems to know about. There's no doubt that others feel the same way because the wait tends to be around an hour or more on the weekends. But if you come on a weekday you can get a cozy table or a spot at the copper plated bar and actually feel like this place is all your own.
The food is completely worth the wait, with a menu that changes frequently based on the local and fresh produce, you can always know your going to be eating something that was well thought out, from farmer to chef. My favorites include the octopus starter, with charred lemon, olives and yogurt sauce and the butternut squash risotto, a light dish with big chunks of squash. For the quality of the food it is very decently priced with entrees under $25. The pork chop has been featured in magazines, television and blogs all over and is a comfort to eat, cooked medium rare and served on a rustic cutting board to match the decor.
The wine list is also a reason I love to come to this place, it's relatively small but incredibly well planned. You can get a great bottle for under $25, which is unheard of at any Manhattan restaurant of this quality. Their mixed drinks, though a little more pricey are both innovative and strong, something you feel you could have ordered from a speakeasy in the 20's. My favorite thing is to sit at the bar to eat a meal and have the bartender recommend a wine or cocktail for the course. They are always nice and willing to suggest new and interesting drinks, and share a story or two while they work.
Overall, I love Vinegar Hill House. Especially on a Monday night when you can take your time and enjoy a meal without the crowd. Also it's nice to actually see the staff as people and talk with them, something that's harder to do on the nights where the wait can be up to 2 hours. I would suggest Vinegar Hill to anyone who wants to get away from the bustle of Manhattan and share a delicious secret.
Bland food, horrible service – One food item stood out and we ordered many many tings. The place lacks substance. Just like the food, the staff is a hit or miss too. Some are sophisticated and nice, or as noted below, you get someone like their hostess with "issues" who would be better suited in the suburbs or UES, Midtown, Westchester etc. And the editor contributor write up seems awfully questionable. The epitome of the genre? Sounds like someone needs to get out of the house more. The decor is a pretty typical formula. Food is bland and uninspired. I want my money and time back! I suspect they will quickly learn the hard way that word gets around fast. I was warned by locals to not bother trying it. Regret not listening. I wont be back to give it a second or third try. It's just not worth it.
NEVER GOING BACK – had dinner there recently, the food was lovely but the service questionable and unfriendly, right down to the owner.
Two days later I walked by with a pregnant friend and sat on the bench outside only to be told a couple of minutes later that if we weren't dining we couldn't sit there!!! What!? Who tells a pregnant lady not to sit on there bench on a hot day. Even worse the woman who told us to go was the owner!
It's the sort of behavior you don't let slide and you tell everyone you know about it....
If you come to brooklyn, loose your snooty attitude. You are a small restaurant in an out of the way location a block and a half from the projects.... Look around, become part of the neighborhood or go back to Manhattan! Brooklyn has different rules, LEARN THEM!!!
Ugh, Never Going Back – Arrived at 7:30 and let the hostess know that we would be 3. When the 3rd member of our party arrived, the hostess said "Let me just seat this party and then I should be able to get you a table." By 9:30 still no table for us, but everyone else had been seated. The hostess approached us at the bar and said "It would be great if you could just order at the bar. It would just make it all a lot easier." Uh, ok, I guess. At that point, our experience at Vinegar Hill House had already become a joke. Food was excellent, but portions were erratic. Pea ravioli, an entree, consisted of 5 quarter-sized raviolis, while a meat dish was enormous. The bartender was beyond rude. The bar is teeny, yet we had to lean over the bar repeatedly and practically grab his sleeve for any recognition. Getting served a cocktail, which turned out to be yummy, took a good 15 minutes. In the entire 3 hours we spent sitting at the bar, the bartender never asked if we wanted to order another drink. This place was ridiculous. I don't recommend it to anyone.
Two Freemans alumni bring a casual, funky, New American brand of dining to DUMBO. – There are any number of small, informal, vaguely antiquarian restaurants in Brooklyn, but Vinegar Hill seems to be the epitome of the genre. Scuffy but clean floors and mismatched but appealing wood furniture, a roaring wood oven, professional service from tattooed staff in street clothes, and a general feeling of community mark the room, and the food is cozy and nourishing. It's also executed as sharply as you could ask for in a Manhattan starred restaurant, whether it's chicken served in a sizzling hot pan, or any of the various hearty proteins and locally-sourced vegetables that compose the menu.
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