Posts Tagged ‘brunch’

Eating out | Up a cobbled street to Vinegar Hill House

19 May 2011

Vinegar Hill House lives on a narrow street that slants up from the East river, an unexpected cobbled block of low brick houses tucked between old factories at one end and uninspired housing towers at the other. It takes its name from the neighborhood, a small anachronistic sliver wedged between Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yards.

From the outside it’s hard to guess which of the houses is a restaurant; inside it’s very much the kind of place you’d hope to walk into. It’s busy but not crowded, friendly without being overbearing, and thoughtful but not overly contrived. The food is simple, seasonal, and mostly very good.

We had no trouble getting a table when we arrived for brunch at 11.30. I ate good scrambled eggs with ramps and a side of completely addictive maple-glazed bacon. Thomas liked the special, a thick corn pancake with pieces of chorizo topped with cream and jalapeno. Balthasar polished off the quiche, though I would have quibbled that it was a bit eggy with too few pieces of asparagus. Leo found the breakfast sandwich with country ham, fried egg, and pepper jelly a bit too sweet, and I was forced to agree (though he did have to finish it). Louise scavenged bits and pieces from everyone.

Then came one large sourdough pancake with pecan bourbon sauce and ricotta, and it would barely have survived a minute under our four-sided fork assault had not the creamy yogurt with homemade preserves accompanied by a granola bar arrived as a propitious diversion. It was a family brunch. It was lovely.

Vinegar Hill House

72 Hudson Avenue (nr. Water Street)
Brooklyn, NY 11201


Open Mon-Thu 6-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-11.30, Sun 5.30-11pm
Brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3.30pm


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Eating out | Brunch at Blaue Gans


Eating out | Brunch at Blaue Gans

22 February 2011

I have a soft spot for Kurt Gutenbrunner’s restaurants. Gutenbrunner is the Austrian chef/owner of Blaue Gans, Wallsé, and Café Sabarsky in New York (as well as Upholstery Winebar and Café Kristall, which I have yet to visit). An essential part of the draw is the excellent food, which is largely Austrian with a number of nods across the German border, but the spirit is clearly more that of a Viennese Café than a Bavarian beer garden. The other thing I like so much about these restaurants is the ambience. Each has a unique atmosphere but with similar qualities: at once elegant and ever so slightly old-fashioned – a touch European in the best sense; but also laid-back and congenial.

Blaue Gans, the most casual of the lot, is great for an easy dinner with friends, a simple lunch, and particularly for brunch. It’s spacious and relaxed – exactly the kind of place you hope to stumble into on a lazy weekend morning – and the menu options span a large spectrum, so everyone is likely to find something that suits their mood, from simple pastries to a Wiener Schnitzel – why not?

There is excellent weisswurst with pretzel, and bratwurst with sauerkraut. But it’s not just the sausages. I am infatuated with the Bibb salad with radishes, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin-seed oil (in the evening the soups are tough competition). There are perfectly soft-boiled eggs in a glass and delicious Matjes herring “Hausfrauenart” – with apples. And then there is the creamed spinach, which can now be ordered as a side, so I get it every time, regardless of what else I’ve decided to order.

Incidentally, Blaue Gans is a good place to go with young children. Ours are always excited to go and invariably very welcome. They love the weisswurst (including Louise, who is already 11 months) and won’t leave without some Kaiserschmarren, the irresistible thick Austrian pancake cut into slivers and served with seasonal fruit compotes.


Blaue Gans

139 Duane Street (between West Broadway and Church)
New York, NY 10013


Open daily, 11am-midnight (bar until 2am)

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