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Feb 13, 2008 07:21 AM

Vanderbilt Ave Prospect Heights

I'm sure people have been seeing the TONY article about Vanderbilt Ave. Wanted to get everyone's feedback on the restaurants/bars there. I've been to a hand full of the places, but not Noo Na, Garden Cafe or Aliseo. Also I thought it was interesting they left off Le Gamin Cafe.

Check out the article here:

And more here:

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  1. Could the writing be any duller?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Claire

      With regards to the TONY article? Yes, I agree. Not too much there to work off of, but it's good to see the area get some press.

    2. A recent visit to Le Gamin uncovered an astounding fact that they do all the cooking for this restaurant on 3 hot plates!! Now that's REALLY pushing the envelope!!

      13 Replies
      1. re: menton1

        They make a breakfast dish of poached egg on a potato cake with ratatouille that is really delicious. And excellent cafe au lait.

        1. re: Amy Mintzer

          It's just difficult to fathom running a 20-table 3 meal restaurant with 3 hot plates. Impossible to fit with real cooking equipment, or the owner doesn't want to spend?

          1. re: menton1

            hi pheights hounds,

            this tony article is already a bit dated. where else are people eating on vanderbilt these days? in my five years in the neighborhood, i have never set foot in le gamin, and have never felt inspired by the prices or menu at aliseo.
            rumor has it that peqena is coming...

            happy eating,

            1. re: oystersallday


              A few ideas/opinions
              Soda for a burger
              Le Gamin is good for brunch
              James for a nice meal
              Geido for sushi
              Beast for tapas
              Cornelius for scotch and bourbon
              Weather Up for fancy cocktails
              Amorina for slices and personal pizzas
              Little Miss Muffin for pastries and patties
              Tom's for breakfast (open on Sunday now too)
              Gran Castillo De Jagua for cheap Spanish/Dominican eats

              Also, this is brand new from TONY:

              And Pequena is opening on the corner of Vanderbilt and Bergen, as is another restaurant from the owners of Saul.


              1. re: ginsbera

                We love James, but it is not on Vanderbilt, it is at 605 Carlton Avenue (corner of St Marks & Carlton Avenue).

                Also, on Monday Milk Bar (in the space where Garden Cafe used to be) is going to open. We are so hoping that they will serve good salads and sanwhiches for lunch.

                We sometimes walk to Zaytoons for lunch. They have a garden in the back.

                We just tried Plan B for lunch and had a horrible experience there (probably the worst "food" either of us ever tasted - and we did not even expect much!).
                I am putting up a separate post about that.

                1. re: FoodWine

                  true, James is on Carlton (I live across the street). Plan B is pretty poor for bar food, everything is frozen and fried (in my experience at least). At least they have sports on TV, an anomaly on Vanderbilt.

                  I've sworn off Zaytoons after having the worst customer service their two times. Once in the restaurant, another delivery. Olive Vine's food is just as good, cheaper and BYOB so they get my money (granted it is in Park Slope).

                  1. re: ginsbera

                    Sorry to hear that. I guess we have been lucky, we have had friendly and pretty efficient service there lately. We have been twice during the past 2 weeks.
                    But we only go for lunch, never for dinner.
                    We used to go to Olive Vine, but when we discovered Zaytoons, we liked it better. Who knows, maybe Olive Vine is better again...

                    1. re: ginsbera

                      agreed about zaytoon's. i was disappointed in their food. need to try olive and vine's...

                  2. re: ginsbera

                    thanks ginsbera. i am still on the fence about james; i find it precious and underwhelming. i like beast for the outdoor sitting, and for the skirt steak. i'm not still not sure how i feel about cornelius: had their pulled pork sandwich once and was not impressed. i do love the dollar oyster happy hour (everyday from 5-7!). a drink at weatherup is always nice, but i'm priced out of getting drunk there. i am just getting into geido now. sushi gen on washington is still one of my favorite neighborhood sushi spots. amorina is good for pizza, but their pastas and salads are mediocre. everyone should go to tom's at least once, since it's one of the last old nyc diners in brooklyn. i get take out from gran castillo (usually roast chicken with rice and beans). tasty and cheap. i still haven't gone to miss muffin's for edibles but i've bought their sorell drink. and i still need to try soda's burger, but i'm just not a fan of the vibe there. it's often crowded and the yard closes too early. islands is great for jerk chicken, but i have yet to try mitchells. i am very excited for "milk bar." supposedly it will have coffee and beer/wine. as a grad student, i still feel that the neighborhood needs a good coffee shop that is not inundated by strollers. the heights on flatbush has served me well in this respect. i checked out sit and wonder and ortine recently as well, but on hot days their lack of air conditioning was impalatable.

                    1. re: oystersallday

                      I do not agree that the pasta and salads are amorina are mediocre - the ragus, etc. strike me as very genuine italian renditions. I guess you may not like that pasta style?

                      weve liked Aliseo very much on rare visits, underwhelmed by Le Gamin, the food we had in one meal at Beast was hit or miss - I thought there was sloppy execution - underseasoning or charring of some items, smallish portions, one braised meat main was very good, but the roasted veg platter a joke (no flavor,), not a place I would look for serious eating. Im glad Castillo del Jagua is there, but the food is not that good of type, meat tends to be dry have liked cooked dishes at Geido over the years but the sushi not as well.

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        the salad i've had at amorina (which might be one of the only ones on the menu) was a basic garden salad. it was fresh, but otherwise uninteresting. in terms of the pasta, i don't like that it tastes like it comes from a box. i love ragu, but i also like good, fresh pasta. i was disappointed with the tortellini: apparently fresh and local, but still chewy and tastless. Al di la is a world apart in these areas and not significantly more expensive. beast can be hit or miss, but occasionally it hits the right spot. as i said, i like having drinks outside and having the option of ordering food if/when i want to. it's hard for a restaurant to pull off being a decent bar, and it might be one of my favorite bars in the hood.
                        i should get to aliseo though...i have heard good things.

                        1. re: oystersallday

                          the good pastas I have had at amorina are things like lasagne and tubes with mushroom or meet ragu. Like I said, these tasted very typically italian to me. If you prefer fresh pasta, I agree this is not the place. al di la does much better tho their filled pastas are of a n undesirable sameness in their saucing.

                          Cant speak to the bar component at Beast (tho the by the glass wines were good) just the dining.

                        2. re: jen kalb

                          I agree with you about Le Gamin and Beast.
                          Beast we tried only once and were hugely underwhelmed.
                          We tried Le Gamin several times, but got tired of it, the food was too inconsistent and the service was terrible. It was a while ago though, and in our desperation to find some variation to our lunch places (can't eat sushi or salmon teriyaki 5 days a week!) we have thought of giving it one more, fresh try. But now I hear its just as bad as before? sigh...

                          I also have high hopes for milk bar, hoping for salads & sandwiches (not on white wheat).

            2. Mitchell's...Great, underrated soul food.

              8 Replies
              1. re: Barry Strugatz

                Anybody have other main dishes than chicken at Mitchell's?

                1. re: rschwim

                  How is Bob Law's? Never been but want to check it out this week or next.

                  1. re: rschwim

                    Excellent short ribs, roast turkey, turkey wings, pig feet.

                      1. re: Barry Strugatz

                        Been wanting to hit Mitchell's. Do they do breakfast - Chicken and waffles?

                        1. re: Polecat

                          so no one has gone to bob law's? i always want to go and then forget about it. also, does anybody know about mitchell's on flatbush?

                          1. re: oystersallday

                            Bob Laws is good, didn't knock my socks off.
                            I think Mitchell's does serve waffles, but haven't tried them.
                            There's a waffle and chicken place on Washington.

                          2. re: Polecat

                            No breakfast. And not really a restaurant. They have a counter (sort of) and one or 2 tables, but most people get food to go. Expect a long wait, but it is the best fried chicken.