I must be getting old. If the thought of listening to Art and Garfunkel on a sunday morning makes you grab a pistol and propel it swiftly to your head, then this ain’t your place. I, for one, are tired of the grungy east village venues, decked out in black, smelling vaguely of last night’s beer, where you need a hand sanitizer, just to sit down. Clean, and airy with a Dutch design sensibility, this place is for me.
One of the best things to eat at Vandaag is the Seaweed Focaccia. I give a lot of props to someone who is shifting it up and serving something I’ve never heard of or ever tasted before. It’s made from reconstituted seaweed which has been flown in especially from Holland. It has a superb salty cracky crust and you need to smear it with the heavenly Gin Scented Butter. They also do a white bread, that they smoke with hay. The smoked bread is served with blood sausage and white sausage as a main brunch course which is called the ‘Double Dutch’. All breads are baked right on the premises and the bread basket is a mere $6 that you can take home with you (I did), and got to finish it off later.
There is a Kale Salad – with pickled apricot, sweet onions and caraway. A short rib hash- slow poached egg, pickled baby carrots, cippolini, and potato. There is also a thing called a ‘Hot lightening’ which is crisp fingerlings, bacon, apple and stroop. Stroop is a traditional Dutch Caramel sauce. I didn’t try that dish, but how can you go wrong with Bacon, potatoes and caramel? I did try the short Rib hash though, and it was delicious. (Wonderfully well seasoned; total comfort food!)
To drink? Try the smart Dutch version of a Bloody Mary which is Horseradish and Dill infused Aquavit, fennel pollans salt rim with pickles and lemon or the “Dutch Treacle” cocktail which is Bourbon, generver, maple syrup, walnut bitters and sparkling cider.
While this place is more of a modern twist on traditional Dutch food, they do do a stroopwafel. (Two layers of thin waffle batter with caramel syrup in the middle) Which originated possibly as far back as the 18th century, in Gouda. This makes the air of the restaurant smell perpetually like caramel and cinnamon. Stroopwafel and Garfunkel? Not a bad way to start the morning; in anyone’s language.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN WALKER