Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day Two Ninety One - Lunch at Vaandag

Although this isn't a recap of a meal that involves a lot of cheese, it's a recap of a meal I think all of my lovely readers should know about because Vaandag is a different sort of restaurant than one traditionally finds around town...

Vaandag means today in Dutch and is a new-ish, as in four months old, East Village based restaurant specializing in Northern European influenced cuisine, featuring gin and genever cocktails with a sleek modern design.

I started with their Bohemian Spritz which was Gruner Veltliner, Vermouth blanc, St. Germain, Zirbenz Pine with Sparkling wine and grapefruit  zest -- a unique and inventive blend of flavors, overall a lovely & light drink.

We started with their bread basket which is accompanied by a homemade lentil spread and juniper gin scented butter. Included in their bread basket was a fabulous selection of their homemade breads, my favorite of which was their Rodenbach beer bread -- nutty and rustic with a homey yeasty feel, this was beer bread done right and even paid homage to the traditional dense dark brown Northern European breads. I loved it so much I even bought a loaf of it.

We then split two of their smørrebrød which are the Dutch answer to the tartine -- an open faced sandwich. The first of which was a mushroom hazelnut terrine with red spinach and a buttermilk dressing on the Rodenbach beer bread -- earthy, gamey, autumnal and warming, an excellent vegetarian take on a terrine with a nice depth of flavor profile. The second of which was their house cured gravalax made with sockeye salmon served with watercress, shallots, roe, and dill on their homemade white pullman style bread. Delish, aromatic, herbaceous, light and almost even refreshing, this showcased the restaurant's keen ability with fish. With our two tartines, we had heard that their hete bliksem "Hot Lightning" were good so we tried that as well hold the bacon. The hot lightning was sauteed fingerlings with apple and stroop syrup -- nice caramelized potatoes with a hint of rustic sweetness to them, definitely different than most potato preparations I'm used to.

Overall a delish meal! When I got home tonight, I even took some gorgonzola dolce and put it on a slice of the Rodenbach beer bread and boy was I in heaven.

It's definitely worth stopping in for lunch when it is quiet and peaceful. At dinner time, what with it being a new restaurant it may get a little hectic and crowded so go during the day on Saturday if you want to enjoy a more serene meal.

130 2nd Avenue
NYC 10004

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