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Feb 2, 2012 09:14 AM

Vinegar Hill House Recommendations

Hello Hounds --

I'm planning on going to Vinegar Hill House on Saturday as soon as they open at 6PM. There isn't typically a line of people waiting to get in, is there?

What's good there? Are there any must-have standouts? Anything to avoid?


Vinegar Hill House
72 Hudson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

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  1. I think the porkchop is a standout. I have actually seen people there waiting before opening, but you shouldn't have any problem if you are there at 6pm.

    1. this place is IMO over rated and unmemorable.

      The appetizer was some mussell dish which was underseasoned. I had the Waddle (pork chop) and while the flavor was there, the entire thing was all fat. And not the good edible bacon-y type fat. It was all grisle, unchewable, unswallowable. When I complained to the waitress that of my $25 entree, I was only able to take like three bites, she told the chef who proceeded to give me DIRTY LOOKS for the rest of the evening. (it's an open kitchen). I will never go to this place again. It was my husband's birthday and I was 9 months pregnant and it was miserable.

      Vinegar Hill House
      72 Hudson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

      8 Replies
      1. re: secondbecky

        I'm not a fan either. Small and not terribly interesting menu. And the food just isn't that good. I don't understand the hype either.

        1. re: bobjbkln

          Yeah, it's funny, some people really love it, and there's a very vocal group of folks who really don't.

          I've never been there, so I'd prefer to make up my own mind. But I've definitely noticed a lot of detractors online. I'll probably respond to this thread Sunday or Monday after I've gone.

          1. re: egit

            egit - what was the verdict?

            My one recommendation would have been to sit downstairs if at all possible :)

            1. re: cazique

              Actually, a weird thing happened. We didn't get to eat at Vinegar Hill House. There were problems with the F train, and we ended up having to walk there from the Hoyt-Schermerhorn station. We got there at 6:20.

              The tables seemed mostly empty but it was literally two-deep at the bar. Apparently that 20 minute forced stroll was the difference. I inquired about a table for two, and the hostess kindly stated that all tables were spoken for but we could eat at the bar once all of the people standing TWO DEEP AT THE BAR were seated at their tables. "How long will that be?" She said it would be in about 15-20 minutes we'd be able to take our seats at the bar. (?!?!) That made absolutely no sense to me that she wouldn't seat them ASAP. I did a little bit of prognostication, and figured standing now three-deep at the bar while the FOH decided when the right time to seat people was only going to make me hangrier and hangrier. Also, 15-20 could easily turn into 30. We had a deadline, since we were going to see a concert at Bargemusic.

              I declined. In addition to being able to predict my less-than-happy mood, and my mounting anxiety about getting down to the barge on time, I figured many of those people who'd had the benefit of ordering only moments before us were going to back up the kitchen a little bit. I wish we could have tried it, because I've wanted to try VHH since it opened. But the problem is that it's a bit of a schlepp even from the York St station, and there's NOTHING else around it. So unless I know I'm going to get a table in a timely manner, or I don't have somewhere else to be, I don't predict walking over there any time soon. Which is too bad.

              We ended up going to Al Mar instead. This place is good. I don't think I'd make a special trip to go there, but it fit the bill and we got to the barge in plenty of time.

              111 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

              1. re: egit

                Egit, thank you for posting this. My wife and I went there in December, and experienced THE EXACT SAME THING. Tables open, and the hostess plucking pairs from the bar every 3-7 minutes to sit them down, and not being very friendly when I had a follow up question about it. I was pretty steamed, but (on my wife's always-prudent advice) tried to keep it polite. We actually waited for a table to eat, and they were pretty much on time for their prediction, but seriously, what's with the one-at-a-time seating? They obviously do this for a reason, maybe to smooth out the impact of the first seatings on the kitchen, or just Because They Can, but I have no idea why this is.

                Any insights from Chow-land? I feel so much better having gotten this off my chest, and either relieved or bemused that this is the norm there.

                Vinegar Hill House
                72 Hudson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                1. re: cazique

                  well, I guess they sell more expensive drinks this way than they would if they seated everyone in a timely way. I appreciate the warning from you all.

                  1. re: jen kalb

                    Went there as a party of 5 a month or two after it first opened and was not overly impressed. The chicken was excellent but the pork chop not so great. Other food was uneven. So, we didn't go back. Until last week. Party of four, two of us were there when it opened at 6pm and were asked to wait at the bar until the others arrived. Okay, I get that. Drinks were good, bartender not overly knowledgable but friendly. Our friends came & we asked to be seated. There were several tables still open upstairs but the hostess told us we were going downstairs. It's a very nice, comfortable room down there (with a fireplace), but we wanted to be upstairs where most of the restaurant is. So I asked to be seated at one of the empty tables. A smile and a "no". Downstairs we went. The waitress was very nice and very competent, the food good but not exceptional. All in all, a place that I'd go to once in awhile if it wasn't in an area that was an "all or nothing" bet. Once there, it's hard to have a Plan B if you can't get in. See them in another year or so.

                    Vinegar Hill House
                    72 Hudson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                  2. re: cazique

                    Honestly cazique, that makes a lot of sense that they'd pace the seatings so as not to overwhelm the kitchen all at the same time.

                    As I said, if we weren't going to a concert we would have been happy to eat at the bar after a short wait.

        2. Finally got a chance to eat here last night. We got the pork chop, the special wild boar shank, the roast chicken, Brussels sprout side, the raviolo with duck egg/chanterelles, the chicken liver mousse with pistachios, and the beet/silken tofu salad.

          It was an excellent dinner, and I have to say that the most notable thing was how everything was exactly, perfectly cooked. The Brussels were the precise balance of soft and firm; the pork had a darkened outside but just enough juicy pinkness in the center; the chicken was amazing, comparable to the Best Roast Chicken We've Ever Had (at L'Ami Jean in Paris).

          Standout dish was the raviolo, surprisingly. The crispy fried breadcrumbs on top mixed with the yolky egg and mushrooms were just amazing.

          1. just wanted to chime in and say that this place has started to decline.

            others have never been impressed but i always liked the place. but a recent meal with unfamiliar faces in the kitchen showed me how sloppy and unexciting the place has become.

            food came out undercooked on several occasions and i just got the sense that the new chef in the kitchen isn't as competent as that last guy...the one with the beard.