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Cocktails & hors d'oeuvres: A preview party at The Vanderbilt

When it comes to predicting my own future, there are a handful of things I “just know.”  For instance, I always knew I’d:

  • Live in NYC 

And things that haven’t happened yet, but that I am more than confident will transpire soon:

  • Move to Brooklyn
  • Get a dog
I was thrilled to have been invited to the pre-opening soiree at The Vanderbilt, Brooklyn’s newest restaurant/lounge (in the Prospect Heights neighborhood).  I left work around 5pm wondering what the hell I would do to keep myself occupied until 7pm (when The Vanderbilt’s doors opened).  I knew that if I went home first, the chances of me getting off of the couch to head back out again (to Brooklyn, for that matter) would be slim.  What can I say?  I’m lazy.  So, I decided to kill the next two hours by exploring the neighborhood surrounding The Vanderbilt. 

My favorite “welcome to Brooklyn” moment would have to be the tickle I get when the subway I’m riding exits Manhattan via bridge, not tunnel.  A mere $2.25 (the fare for a single subway ride in NYC) will buy you the world’s best view of Gotham, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn.  As I was exploring, I couldn't help but notice all of the fall foliage, Halloween decorations and stunning brownstones.  Ever since I was a kid, I've been longing to find a neighborhood that resembled the one in the Cosby show: wide stoops with five or six steps leading up to a gorgeous pre -war building, tree-lined streets, etc.  Sure, there are plenty of charming residential edifices like these in Manhattan, but for some reason, Brooklyn has a slight edge.  I was thrilled to have happened upon a glorious cheese/charcuterie/gourmet foods shop called "Brooklyn Larder."  I must have spent thirty minutes perusing this amazing store that was stocked full of goodies that I had not seen since I was in Paris.  I bought a package of "One Girl" cookies, fleur de sel ( French sea salt) caramel lolli-pops and a bag of Zapp's Potato Chips (you rarely see this brand outside of the dirty South).     
Finally, as my wrist watch struck 7pm, I entered The Vanderbilt.  The restaurant/lounge's space was dressed with unfinished farm wood, milky white granite counter tops, exposed brick walls, an open-kitchen adorned with stark white subway tile, dim recessed lighting, and a separate room designated for private gatherings.  With all of the venues in Manhattan, I wondered how The Vanderbilt would attract jaded Gothamites.  Would folks be willing to cross the bridges and tunnels?  I was curious to find out.

Black Cherry Rickey (vodka, black cherry syrup, lime, soda)

Gougeres stuffed with whipped chicken-liver mousse

And when it comes to predicting The Vanderbilt's future?  With more space than most places in Manhattan, a kitchen run by Michelin-star-recipient Saul Bolton, cheaper food and drink prices, and a fifteen-minute subway ride from the city, The Vanderbilt definitely has the potential to draw in crowds from every corner of NYC's five boroughs.  I can't wait to return!  

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