FINALLY! I made it over to Vinegar Hill House (72 Hudson Avenue, between Front & Water Streets, 718-522-1018) for dinner. What has it been, years? I've been reading at hearing about how great this place is - I even have a friend who lives in Manhattan, uptown no less, who list VHH as her favorite restaurant in the city! That speaks volumes. And we were not disappointed. I went with my husband, and my parents, and we sat in the backyard on a warm night. Thankfully they have baskets full of cans of bug spray to help ward off the mosquitoes that are unfortunately part of any outdoor summer dining. After a few sprays, we settled in and ordered.
I do have one criticism - the chairs were not comfortable at all. The garden is a sweet spot full of blooming shrubs and concrete turtles, but the tiny, metal chairs did nothing to add to the ambiance. Anyway, the food made up for it. We started out with a corn salad with basil and red cabbage that was tender and crunchy and so flavorful, all topped with a sprinkle of paprika that added a little bite.
We also ordered a salad made with Bibb lettuce and Beets that was delicious. Bright colors, bright and soft flavors, topped with tangy grated cheese.
The Oven Roasted Octopus Salad was one of the best dishes though, with zesty octopus, lemon and olives. It was fantastic. The octopus was tender, not chewy at all, and the citrus provided a good pop of astringent flavor.
We also had a Zucchini Tart that was excellent, topped with crunchy frisee and made with creamy ricotta. The crust was wonderfully flaky too.
For a main dish, we ordered the breaded Cod with green and wax beans. The fish was very good - fresh, flaky and tender, with lightly buttered beans for a hint of decadence.
The only disappointing item was the side of potatoes. While nicely flavored with fresh thyme, they weren't what I was expecting. I imagined crispier potatoes, and these were big chunks of creamy potato - not bad, just not what I was wanting. Plus they looked weird.
I really liked the whole experience. Our server was nice and competent, the garden was pretty, the dining room cozy. I'm definitely planning to head back in colder weather to take advantage of the fireplace!