Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave, Brooklyn 11201
(Btwn Front & Water St)
I’ve been hearing many good things about this place for quite some time now. Since I was already around DUMBO, I figured it would be a great time to finally see what this spot is all about. My friend and I decided on having brunch there. On our way there I remember thinking to myself that in all my years of living in NY, I’ve never been down this block before. I have to say I really loved the look of this place. Old, beat-up, and with a charming antiquated feel to it. My kind of place for sure!
French Press Coffee: I originally wanted a latte but I was told that they do not have an espresso machine. However, I was then informed that they do have French Press Coffee so of course I could not refuse. Please excuse my brief hipster moment. Not much else to say here except that the coffee was great. My only slight disappointment was that they do not have heavy cream which is something that I think is so much better than Half & Half or even whole milk.
Asparagus Omelet: Normally I am not a huge fan of omelets and I am rarely treated to what I think is a great omelet but this was an omelet that made me go WOW! By its name alone it sounds like an absolutely boring and bland dish, I mean how exciting can asparagus and some eggs be even though I really love asparagus. This was surprisingly fantastic! I don’t think I’ve ever had an omelet that felt so fluffy and airy. Wrapped inside the omelet was some brie cheese and several asparagus spears. The combination of all 3 ingredients made this a really tasty omelet. You have the light sweetness of the asparagus plus its subtle crunch which gives a nice contrast in texture. The cheese added a nice buttery flavor as well. Avery deceiving omelet for which I expected utter blandness. I was definitely proven wrong. Man I could definitely put away 2 of these if I had the chance!
Duck Egg Confit: This dish definitely reminded me of the Italian Eggs from Dizzy’s. Both dishes are quite similar however Vinegar Hill’s version uses an actual duck egg (instead of a chicken egg) and large pieces of fried bread (instead of small pieces of focaccia). I also do not think there is any cheese involved as was in the Italian Eggs. So you have your eggs sitting on top of large pieces of fried bread followed by a very moist and tender duck confit on the bottom. Almost forgot to mention the generous portion Sambal on the side of the duck egg. Sambal is essentially a hot chili sauce with a wonderful kick. If you have never had duck eggs before then I highly recommend that you try them. The yolk seems much richer and much thicker than a chicken egg and I think the flavor is somewhat better. The only thing I did not like was the fact that these pieces of bread were fried to a point where the bread became a little too hard. There were times I felt I was going to cut the inside of my mouth with these hard and sharp pieces of bread. The duck confit was also slightly a bit too salty but not a big deal overall. To fully experience the taste of this dish you need a piece of that fried bread. Add some duck to it and finally top it off with some egg and Sambal. Hopefully you won’t sever the inside of your mouth but even if you do, it’s damn worth it!
Vinegar Hill House will most certainly be revisited by me again. I loved the old fashioned look and feel of the place and brunch was definitely delicious. Now I just need to sample some of their dinner offerings which I hear are quite amazing but we will save that for another time!
Pedro’s Mexican Bar & Restaurant
73 Jay St, Brooklyn 11201 (At Front St)
After Park Slope, DUMBO has to be one of my favorite neighborhoods in NYC. What I love most about DUMBO is the fact that you can still see a lot of the old and historic Brooklyn almost everywhere you look. From old trolley tracks and cobble stone streets to old fashioned signs on buildings, DUMBO remains an area that is quite rich in NY history. When it comes to eating in DUMBO, I haven’t really explored too many of the local eateries there. Every time I visit DUMBO, it’s almost certain that one way or another I will walk by Pedro’s and each time the place looks jam packed with people. I decided that this time I would finally give this place a shot and see if the crowd is really here for the food or just for the margaritas.
Elote: I love grilled corn on the cob and any time I see it on a menu I will always order it. It is a popular street food in Mexico and various other Latin American countries. I have seen many variations of this dish but essentially it’s grilled corn on the cob that’s slathered with mayo (or chipotle sauce), spices, and sprinkled with cheese. The elote at Pedro’s was ok and definitely not the best I’ve had. It was covered in way too much plain mayo, contained zero spices, and had very little cheese. Luckily the corn itself was tasty and sweet but it would have been much better with a touch less mayo, some paprika, and definitely a lot more cheese.
Mexican Green Apple Soda: Although sodas are not the healthiest thing in the world, the one good thing about Mexican sodas is that they all use natural cane sugar which is probably a good reason why Mexican Coke tastes so good. The Green Apple Soda (Manzana Verde), although quite sweet, was definitely tasty and refreshing on that particular hot and sunny day. Unfortunately it was quite filling, as most sodas are.
Fried Plaintains with Beef: An extremely oily dish but a very tasty one as well. A sweet plaintain split down the middle, stuffed with ground beef, covered with cheese and then fried. This was a wonderful combination of sweet and savory! The beef was very flavorful as was the cheese. Besides the plaintain, I doubt there was anything healthy about this dish not to mention that some people might be turned off by the heavy amount of oil it was swimming in but I would definitely come back for this dish.
Fajitas Mixta: Fajitas with chicken, beef, and shrimp. Total disappointment! The beef and chicken was definitely tender and might have actually been quite tasty if it wasn’t for the excessive amount of salt that was apparently used. The shrimp was even saltier than the meat! The peppers and onions were a little less salty but overall this dish had more salt than the Dead Sea. The only thing somewhat helped the situation was the bland rice and beans which I will discuss next.
Rice & Beans: Rice & Beans is a pretty simple side dish but it’s preparation can tell you so much about a place. All I can say is that the rice, besides being slightly dry, along with the beans was very bland. I suppose it made an excellent side dish for the sodium infused fajitas.
I’m not entirely sure about Pedro’s yet. The Fried Plaintains with Beef were great but the rest of the meal was rather disappointing. I was very curious about their Mofongo but the waitress was kind enough to inform me that at the moment their Mexican chef was working in the kitchen and that I should hold off on the Mofongo until the Dominican chef’s shift begins. I guess that alone gives me a reason to give Pedro’s another shot.