Brunch, the most important meal of the day. This is first of many outings with fellow blogger Gasparillo Junction. If you have not heard of Leigh- Ann, she is an amazing food blogger. Her recipes are for those that are cooking for one, and they are always soo pretty. Her presentation skills are on 1000. Looking at her photography, you would think these recipes are not for mere mortals, but they are. For the longest, we wanted to collaborate, and what way than to feature black owned or women owned restaurants in NYC. We are definitely looking forward to sharing all the great spots across the city, as well as show off our best brunch attire.
First up is Vinateria in Harlem. This cozy restaurant is located on 119th and Frederick Douglass aka Harlem Restaurant Row. The area has boomed with great places to eat, and Vinateria is one of them. Once I arrived we were greeted by the owner Yvette Leeper- Bueno. Ever the gracious host, she seated us herself and made sure we were taken care of. She is an amazing person, and her restaurant is a reflection of such.
We started off with the Crispy Calamari and Bacalao Croquettes. The Calamari was served with a Romesco Sauce (which is a nut & pepper sauce from Northern Spain which is best with fish). This was the best calamari I had in a while. It had the perfect crunch, and the with the sauce it gave it the right amount of kick.
Now this appetizer surprised me. I'm usually about my whiting, flounder, and salmon, but the Bacalao Croquettes were yummy. The Lemon Aioli sauce that is drizzled over them, made them too pretty to eat. To be honest, it only took us about 1 minute of admiring how pretty they were before we dove in. This blogger has been trying new things, and I must say it is paying off. I would have never thought to order this dish (Thanks Leigh-Ann) and it was soo good.
The restaurant is known for their Italian & Spanish culinary dishes, and the Black Spaghetti is a cult favorite. Now I know what you are thinking, spaghetti on a Brunch menu? It has been such a hit of the restaurant, it was requested to be added as a brunch item. It was recommended and so she tried it, and she was not disappointed. The portion was just right, and once again gorgeous presentation. The Black Spaghetti is served with octopus and breadcrumbs. The Spaghetti is made in house with squid ink. Even though pasta is always viewed as a heavy meal, Leigh-Ann was not stuffed to the point of explosion. The pasta was cooked to perfection and it was just the right size to have her belly full and happy.
I went with the Steak & Eggs. Now anyone that knows me, I am all about pancakes for brunch, but I was in the mood for a good ole steak. My steak came with eggs, potatoes, and mixed greens. Everything was cooked to my liking, and I chowed down. When it comes to my eggs, I in no way shape or form like my eggs runny and these were done just the way I like them- well & fluffy. The potatoes were soo good, I definitely would just order a side of them when I come and visit. My steak was flavorful and the sauce it came with really brought out all the flavor in the steak. I definitely recommend the steak and eggs for anyone looking for a great, traditional brunch meal.
All the brunch items have an option of a mimosa, bloody mary, juice or coffee/tea. I went with the mimosa- like come on is it really considered brunch without one? They have a great wine and cocktail list. Once the weather gets better, I definitely want to come back to their Happy Hour and try some spirits.
The restaurant had a great atmosphere, and best of all they take reservations. It's busy, but not like most restaurants on a Sunday where you have to wait over an hour for a table, then when you sit down they are rushing you out for the next patron. We were able to sit, chat, people watch, and just enjoy the nice Spring weather. If you are in the mood for a great meal for $35 a person, then definitely head to Vinateria. They also have an amazing bar filled with great Tequila options. Leigh-Ann was able to get an interview with the General Manager, so definitely head to Gasparillo Junction to read all about the restaurant.
So if you are in Harlem, please, please, please stop into this great restaurant! Support!