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Birthday dinner in Prospect Heights - The Vanderbilt or Flatbush Farm?... or Convivium Osteria?

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Hello friends! I want to organize a birthday dinner for my boyfriend and a few close friends (6 total). I've narrowed it down to The Vanderbilt or Flatbush Farm (haven't been to either). Any thoughts on which has better food and vibe for this kind of occasion? (I also considered The James, but can't make a reservation with them, unfortunately). The other contender is Convivium Osteria - where I've heard the food is fabulous - but I'm not sure if the vibe will be... "old/stuffy"? Please help!

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Convivium Osteria
68 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

Flatbush Farm
76 Saint Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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  1. While I love the Bar(n) at Flatbush Farm (including the food) I have always found the food on the restaurant side to be overpriced and uninspired. I love the food at Convivium and would never describe it as old or stuffy--but it is more cozy and intimate than the Vanderbilt, which has a bit more of a party vibe. That being said, the food at the Vanderbilt can be hit or miss. I would choose between those two based on your preferred vibe and how important the food is v. atmosphere.

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    Convivium Osteria
    68 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

    Flatbush Farm
    76 Saint Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

    The Vanderbilt
    570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

    3 Replies
    1. re: prdct

      Thanks so much for weighing in! Food is definitely more important. I guess I'm torn between the italian vs. new american menus, and am leaning more towards the latter. If you don't mind me asking - what are some must trys on the Vanderbilt menu? Thanks again.

      1. re: sookims

        truthfully I wouldn't classify anything at the Vanderbilt as "must try" but I've always enjoyed the brussles sprouts, the shishito peppers and the boudin noir with poached eggs. Get a bunch of plates and share. I also enjoy the cocktails here.

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        The Vanderbilt
        570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

      2. re: prdct

        We recently visited Flatbush Farm for the first time and wont hurry back. I had a very good dish (monkfish on a rice mix, very fresh and well cooked, but daughter's beautifully plated short rib with, I think crab apples was tough and undercooked and the dish (a little BBQ-ish) had a rather unpleasant musty-funkiness to it. Really disliked this dish. Prices were high for quality. Other food was acceptable, service pleasant. Convivium much better choice in area and not the least bit "stuffy".

        I think if you want to actually be able to talk with your group, Convivium would be the best bet - of theothe alternatives nearby Vanderbilt and James are both fairly loud. Aliseo or Franny's could be an option if you are seeking Italian flavors.

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        Flatbush Farm
        76 Saint Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

      3. Am I the only person here who hasn't been wowed by Convivium? I like it "just fine," but I've never done cartwheels on my way out of the place.

        My vote would be for The Vanderbilt because it's good "group food" provided you all know how to share. The menu changes frequently, so it's hard to say what the Must Haves are. Though I've always gotten the shishito peppers*

        * By the way, am I the only person who thinks that about one in every fifty shishito peppers is INSANELY spicy? Happened to me last time at The Vandy.

        2 Replies
        1. re: egit

          Thanks everyone for weighing in. We ended up going to the Vanderbilt and had a really wonderful time. We ordered, I think, one of every small dish - including the Brussels sprouts and shishito peppers which I loved- as well as several of the med and large dishes, incl the chicken liver pâté, kielbasa, pork belly, and meatballs. Delicious! As a compromise, we went to the barn for a drink and small apps before hitting a late dinner at the Vanderbilt which ended up being perfect. Thanks again for all your help- I hope to try convivium soon on another night!

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          The Vanderbilt
          570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

          1. re: egit

            Spicy shishitos?...You're not the only one...it's a fact!