The Vanderbilt, perched on its namesake avenue, succeeds as both a neighborhood and foodie destination, and tomorrow its sure to please both with a Belgian Beer Dinner.
The event is a partnership between the Vanderbilt's Chef, Saul Bolton, and the brewmaster Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery. Bolton and Oliver (whom Bolton calls “a live wire” who “needs no introduction”) will go table to table discussing how each course’s beer enhances that particular dish.
“It’s all about getting closer to customers and circulating,” says Bolton, adding that “The pairing of beer and food is not at all scientific. It’s just such a subjective thing.”
The evening’s starter, white asparagus with poached egg, is followed by house-cured pancetta and sabayon, then moules frites and Belgian sausage. The meal is topped off with waffle cones with homemade chocolate, orange and pistachio ice creams accompanied by Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout.
Even if you can't make the beer dinner tomorrow night, if you haven't yet been to the Vanderbilt, it's well worth a stop.
This polished, but not-too-haute gastropub at the corner of Bergen, which Bolton owns with restauranteur , is a long, sleek corner space with multiple personalities. In front is an often bustling, marble-topped bar, just the spot for a seasonal cocktail like the Ruby Sip composed of gin, hibiscus, fresh lime and cucumber.
Diners or grazers can settle into a comfortable window seat or the banquette and high tables. The best view in the house is the long, marble counter facing the open kitchen, while a step down, there is a more conventional dining area. Now with trees blossoming, al fresco sidewalk tables are perfect for meals between raindrops.
The current menu reflects rites of spring with ingredients such as eggs, chicken, spinach, sweet peas and the almighty ramp (in a crispy pork belly snack). Besides chicken liver mousse, there are spicy fried chicken wings. Horseradish hash browns are plated with hanger steak and the Vanderbilt serves Vermont lamb as chops or grinds it into sausage.
Fans of Bolton know his forte and passion is charcuterie, and the restaurant is known for its international array of sausages (boudin noir, bratwurst, kielbasa, merguez), pates, terrines and duck confit.
Eggs appear in creative appetizers like golden, pickled eggs and a slow poached egg with asparagus and Parmesan. Brunchers can choose eggs Vanderbilt with ham “de Paris” or local spinach and spicy hollandaise; or smoked trout crepe with melted leeks and a sunnyside egg.
The restaurant has monthly events and those who can't make tomorrow's beer dinner can look forward to May 3 when the Cinco de Mayo dinner (beer and tequila) kicks off with ceviche of striped bass, then on to homemade tamale, posole made with local pork shoulder and feet, and fried cinnamon ice cream dessert.
Bolton has been busy. appeared on the Food Network featuring baked Alaska from his Smith Street restaurant Saul. Stay tuned for more about his new business, Brooklyn Bangers.