Brooklyn and Vinegar Hill House

The vibe and feel of Brooklyn is so different from Manhattan and that is a good thing.   We stopped by a few places before ending up at Vinegar Hill for dinner.  We first popped into Dumbo to check out the carousel.  I used to love going on carousels when the kids were little.  This one has a killer location sitting on the waterfront with the views above. 

During the summer the glass walls open up.

Then we shot over to Williamsburg literally right as the sun was setting.  Half of Williamsburg might be cool and hip but the other half is filled with Hasidim Jews coming home from Shul.  It might be 2012 but watching the families walk home in the same hats and robes that they wore hundreds of years ago is just amazing.  We dropped in Rye for a drink.  I might have to return for dinner because the menu looks delicious. 

Rye has that earthy warm feeling that makes you want to stumble in there during a cold snowy night and eat something rich and filling.  Instead we opted for an old fashioned with rye.  Yum.

Our next stop was Vinegar Hill.  At 630 the place was packed and luck was with us because there were four stools at the bar.  Grab them!  By the time we left the restaurant was packed to the gills.  The restaurant is so quaint and charming.  There is something unique that in the food world these days that there are a variety of destination restaurants popping up in areas around the city.  They aren't on streets where there are tons of foot traffic or even other stores and restaurants but the only storefront on a street.  Vinegar Hill is one of those places.  At Vinegar HIll sitting at the bar gave us all a glimpse into watching the line chefs in the kitchen all night.  Such a tough job. 

Two of us began with the Caesar Salad.  Chopped iceberg lettuce with a really rich cheesey sauce and large crunchy schmaltz croutons. 

The other two of us went with the radish salad.  Such a nice presentation.  Crunchy crisp radishes scattered around the plate with almonds and mache perfectly placed around the radishes.  Underneath the salad are dots of chantilly brown butter.  Nice touch.  A nice take on the classic radish, butter and salt starter. 

We were first just going to order entrees and main courses but the pastas looked so good we decided to try one of them to split and then in the last minute we ordered one more.  Wow.  Bucatini mixed with a chorizo ragu and pieces of seared octopus.  So good.  The pasta was perfectly cooked al dente and the sauce had a nice little kick. 

The other pasta was the squid ink tagliolini.  I am a sucker for squid ink pasta.  This was served with clams, squid, chickpeas and uni.  The uni just melted into the pasta.  Really delicious.

Main courses.  I had the duck.  The portions are actually not that large which I like.  So although we ordered a lot it wasn't that much.  Pieces of duck sliced over a mixture of turnips, watercress, black trumpet mushrooms and cracklings.  Simple, tasty and not over powering. 

My friend had the chicken two ways.  A super crispy deep fried chicken thigh with a roasted chicken breast and dandelion greens. 

Braised wild boar shank served over grits mixed with a fennel pollen and pecans.  Perfect for a cold night.

Sliced country pork chop with sauerkraut.  Love the presentation here too.

At this point I was chatting with the other people at the bar.  Many bottles of wine later.  We went with white tonight.  The first bottle was from Jura Switzerland.  Those wines tend to have a unique flavor with almost a stinky odor.  If you have never tasted one, give it a whirl.  Really different.  We also had two Pouilly Fuisses from France.   The sides came out really late but at this point we didn't care.  Crispy brussel sprouts mixed with a grainy mustard and hazelnuts. 

Cheddar cheese curds.  Take out a spoon and dig in.

Dessert…bring it on.  Salted caramel custard.  Super dense and just delicious.

Intense Guinness chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.

Such a great night.  Wonderful neighborhood restaurant.  Many of the people there are definitely regulars.  I plan on coming back.