When you think of visiting Brighton Beach, Brooklyn as a dining destination, what usually comes to mind is enjoying some of the finest Russian cuisine that you can find stateside. The surprise is that there’s a new fine dining restaurant in Brighton Beach called Vis a Vis that specializes in Global Contemporary Cuisine rooted in French techniques, and it’s worth the trip all the way in from Manhattan just to check it out. We dined at Vis a Vis on a Sunday evening just a couple of weeks back, when the restaurant’s doors had only been open for three weeks, and were pleasantly surprised that they already appear to be getting everything right!
Vis a Vis features two distinct dining spaces. The front of the house flaunts gorgeous, plush red velvet seating, a lively bar scene and a bit of a night club vibe once the DJ takes over with modern House Music. Sunday Brunch turns into a real party atmosphere and everybody has a great time! We’d recommend making your dinner reservations post 7 PM on a weekend if you’d prefer a quieter atmosphere, as the music and festivities can bleed over into the equally elegant but considerably calmer adjoining dining room, which looks like this:
In this refined setting, the focus is very much on excellent food and first class services. At the helm of the Vis a Vis‘ kitchen is multi-award winning Chef Charles Disanayake, who hails from Sri Lanka. Having studied under Anita Lo (Top Chef Masters) at her Michelin-starred Annisa restaurant, Chef Charles has launched multiple restaurants around the world. Aside from his impressive work at Vis a Vis, he is well known for his exclusive New York supper club dinners, and catering services for private and corporate events. Chef Charles‘ creative finesse and finely-honed culinary skills are apparent from the first bite of any dish he prepares as Vis a Vis. It was a great pleasure to meet and speak with him on the evening of our visit.
The menu offers so many tempting specialties that it was hard to make a final decision on the evening’s dishes, but let me tell you about what we ended up ordering.
Herb & Pretzel Crusted Chicken & Bacon Lollipops with House Made Ranch ($10). For this fun appetizer, succulent chicken is wrapped in bacon and fried crisp before being rolled in a pretzel crumb coating and baked perfectly. The cool Ranch house dressing is an excellent accompaniment. Everyone in the family will love these.
We had heard great things about the Zucchini Blossoms stuffed with Mozzarella and Figs and served with a Mint Chutney ($14) and this dish was just fantastic! The Zucchini Blossoms are tempura battered and quick fried to maintain their delicate texture. The Mint Chutney is the consistency of a pesto sauce, so the flavor is subtle but distinctive, and there are also a few tender chickpeas on the plate. If you’ve not yet tasted fried stuffed Zucchini flowers, you’re in for a treat.
You can’t go wrong with a roasted beet salad. This one has rosettes of Herb Infused Goat Cheese & Roasted Beets with Micro Greens, Balsamic Pearls, Mandarin Orange Segments and Pecans ($13). The balsamic pearls are what look like Blackberry clusters in the above photo. The crunchy pecans provide a terrific contrast in texture to the tender beets and juicy orange segments. A winning combination of farm-to-table ingredients!
For my entree, I could not resist the Steak of The Day, which was a generous, 9 Ounce Filet Mignon served with Grilled Asparagus, Truffled Mashed Potatos and Red Wine Sauce (Market Priced). Absolutely everything about this dish was perfect.
My dining companion, also being a red meat lover like myself, chose the Rib Eye — which, as you can see from the above photo, is massive. Her Steak was served with Grilled Vegetables and unusual sides such as a Potato Nest with a Foie Gras center, and Cabbage Stuffed with Tomato Rice. This dish is an excellent example of how Chef Charles elevates even the most classic bistro dishes into the realm of haute cuisine.
After a brief respite, it was time for dessert.
If you are so stuffed from your delicious meal that you do not even think you can eat dessert, you will still be able to enjoy this light and luscious Peach Panna Cotta, with Orange Blossom Water and Pistachio Crumbles ($11). I do love a good panna cotta, and this one is excellent.
Another decadent choice — but perfect for sharing! — is the Bourbon Butterscotch-Filled Cashew & Almond Beignets with Bourbon Ice Milk ($10). How does Chef Charles think of such delicious and unique creations? We do not know, but we would love to return for further investigation.
Vis a Vis features an extensive wine list, and offers elaborate, multi-course banquets for between $100 to $150 per person. Why not consider them as a special destination for your holiday season dining and celebrations?
Vis a Vis is Located at 3100 Ocean Parkway (corner of Sea Breeze Avenue), Brooklyn, NY 11235 (Take the Q Train to Brighton Beach). Phone 718-333-0003 for reservations or visit them online at Vis a Vis NY.