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The Vanderbilt
The Vanderbilt

New York

Certain institutions signify a town having arrived -- an opera house denotes a certain level of cultural sophistication and wealth, and ditto an Olive Garden. Signifying Brooklyn's arrival -- The Vanderbilt.

Hailed as BK's first bar from a Michelin star'd chef, The Vandy's an affordable small plate hang helmed by SAUL Restaurant's decorated namesake and his protege from Num Pang Sandwich Shop; the turn of the century vibe's starts up front with an open kitchen surrounded by rustic brick walls, raised tables, and dual white Carrara marble bars, and continues with the dining room's homestead-style unfinished wooden tables, plush banquettes, and walls made from reclaimed barn wood, which typically precedes a roll in the hay. The seasonal French-influenced menu starts with beer bites like homemade jerky, brussel sprouts w/ lime and fleur de sel, golden pickled eggs, and serrano ham croquettes , then gets straight real with house-made charcuterie: spicy blood sausage w/ pork rinds, slow-cooked pork belly on French lentils, crispy pig tails, and duck rillettes w/ mission fig jam (loves Phish, doesn't think we evolved from them). Fall veggies include acorn squash (a la plancha with homemade ricotta/lemon confit) and grilled corn (in chilled soup form w/ smoked tomato rice), while simply prepared ocean fare includes steamed mussels, grilled octopus, razor clams w/ garlic & parsley, and fried calamari w/ cilantro lime mayo; equally subtle meats include grilled sweetbreads, marinated skirt steak with salsa verde, and chicken wings that're smoked & fried, and will spend hours laughing at How High with you before providing the perfect snack.

Old-fashioned booze includes the applejack/cider molasses/black tea Jr. Kimbrough, and the gin/sweet basil/bitter lemon Pimm's Cocktail, while the 20-plus artisanal brews include drafts of Captain Lawrence Smoked Porter and Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, plus bottles of Pyraat, Shiner Bock, and Rammstein, a band unwilling to play a town without an Olive Garden, as they'll never pay for their NEINth bowl of pasta.

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1. The Vanderbilt 570 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hailed as BK's first bar from a Michelin star'd chef, The Vandy's an affordable small plate hang helmed by SAUL Restaurant's decorated namesake and his protege from Num Pang Sandwich Shop; the turn of the century vibe's starts up front with an open kitchen surrounded by rustic brick walls, raised tables, and dual white Carrara marble bars, and continues with the dining room's homestead-style unfinished wooden tables, plush banquettes, and walls made from reclaimed barn wood, which typically precedes a roll in the hay.

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