What century-old icons like Peter Luger and Nathan’s are to bygone Brooklyn, Vinegar Hill House absolutely is to new, having practically created a blueprint back in 2008 for the bespoke, independently-owned, local/seasonal eateries that came to redefine the restaurant scene.
Yet rather incongruously for such a formative establishment, it’s remained tucked away in the borough’s most obscure, not to mention inaccessible neighborhood (i.e., the cobblestoned Vinegar Hill, a good hike away from the nearest subway). Which is why, almost a decade later, it’s a thrill to witness VHH emerge from the figurative shadows, by opening an outpost in the blossoming nexus of DUMBO.
Consider it then, one of the original architects of Brooklyn 3.0.—centrally situated in the Civil War-era warehouse turned high tech, Empire Stores development. Christened VHH Foods, their contemporary spot trades salvaged wood and artfully worn brick for ultra-modern expanses of reflective glass, and an intimate, ivy-cloaked garden for a waterfront-adjacent courtyard, edged with geometric planters set along a granite floor.
Instead of concentrating on special occasion dinners, they’ve gone the way of the all-day café, kicking off the morning with cold brew and espresso tinted with housemade almond milk (and incorporated into en vogue, caffeinated cocktails later on), accompanied by gluten-free energy balls, chocolate and smoked ricotta bread, and sweet and savory brioche.
Reliably, VHH has tapped the reigning class of nearby, conscientious vendors to help craft midday and evening dishes—tourists can avail themselves of picnic baskets packed with Meat Hook hot dogs, buckwheat chocolate chip cookies, and sides such as Campo Rosa farms greens, Arrowhead spinach, and spigarello kale.
And moneyed residents of recently erected condominiums will doubtless flock in for family meals—comprised of whole chickens or by-the-pound meats (marinated skirt steak, brined and roasted tofu, desert pork), paired with a choice of two veggies, salted caramel and bay leaf-infused custards, and an order of pull-apart rolls.
Vinegar Hill House has expanded its reach thoughtfully and slowly…we’ll keep an eye on further maneuvers for prescient glimpse at Brooklyn 4.0.
55 Water St., 718-243-1569
Photos via Eater