Vandal opened in January 2016 and soon rose to be one of the brightest stars in the New York restaurant sky, especially down that galaxy, which is about clubby dining. I really wanted to try Vandal, when I was in New York, but you know how I am when it comes to table reservations.Always late. Fortunately, friend Mende had been a little more proactive and scored a table for 4 Sunday evening.
On to the cocktails. Both Jessica and I had the Trigger Finger. None of us are particularly into bourbon cocktails, but Jessica told me that the flask the drink comes in, are yours to steal (yes!) and keep. Unfortunately, the staff couldn’t find the flasks, but decided to serve us the drink anyway in ordinary glasses (not to be stolen), even though we specifically mentioned that we only ordered the cocktail for the flask. So we were stuck without souvenir flasks and a bourbon cocktail, which wasn’t very good. To make up for it, the staff offered us dessert on the house. Apology accepted.
We ordered so much food, it would probably have been easier just to tell the staff what we didn’t want from the menu. The food was better than what I had expected and definitely nicer than what you get at similar lounge/restaurant spots in the city. The twists, tweaks and funny fusions all came out very well, and even the so-called small servings were large enough to share. The only dish I didn’t like was the bacon ramen, which was a major let-down (as in inedible) with a soapy aftertaste.
Vandal feels like Saturday night, so going on a lazy Sunday evening wasn’t optimal. We were all a bit tired after the weekend’s escapades, so even though the staff, the food and the break-dancing purple bunny sculpture all did their best to live up the place, the Sunday slackness wouldn’t back off, so next time I’m going to New York, please remind me to book a table well in advance, because Vandal deserves a Saturday night.
Vandal, 199 Bowery, Lower East Side, New York