I don’t know about you, but lately I feel like it’s ‘safe’ to be a bit more adventurous when it comes to dining out. Specifically, I’m willing to leave my neighborhood for expanded culinary horizons. That includes making a trip to the lovely neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights for an indulgent, farm-to-table experience at Vineapple Cafe — a wildly impressive foodie find that just hit my radar.
On entering Vineapple’s storefront space, with its polished wood floors and pressed tin accents, you might think you’ve merely stumbled on a favorite neighborhood coffee bar, where locals pop in to grab a latte, smoothie, or an organic muffin. But journey further into the room and you’ll discover a full bar leading to a charming and cozy dining room.
On my recent introductory visit to Vineapple, accompanied by my fellow Foodie Anne, the interior vibe inspired feelings of nostalgia for the adorable Boho-chic cafes I’ve loved in cities like Seattle or Salt Lake City. The feeling of being transported is instantaneous. That’s the atmosphere owners Aubrie Therrien and her husband Zachary Rubin envisioned for Vineapple when they reopened it mid-pandemic in 2020, after the café (which had been their favorite neighborhood spot) closed under its previous management in the Before Times of 2019.
Working through the struggles of renovating and opening a restaurant during the pandemic, the couple embraced the project by tapping into Aubrie’s family’s Italian-American heritage and recipes and Zac’s love of food, to create the perfect, enoteca-style dinner menu; fusing New American and Italian-leaning cuisine. Anne and I sampled as many signature dishes as we could stuff ourselves with in one sitting, and of course we had to start out with one of Vineapple’s refreshing and potent frozen cocktails. Check this baby out!
Signature cocktails by Jennifer Sandella are an integral part of the Vineapple Cafe experience. All cocktail syrups are made in-house by Jennifer and are corn-syrup free. Creative original offerings can change nightly, but we really enjoyed the Boozy Vodka Mint Frozen Lemonade; tart, sweet and seriously intoxicating. One is all you need to feel good all the way back to Manhattan!
While we slow-sipped our cocktails, we perused the tempting menu selections to decide on appetizers to share. There are so many good ones, but we narrowed it down to these two.
You can’t go wrong with the Burrata with Roasted Beets ($16), featuring a fat ball of the delectable cheese resting on a pool of Roasted Beet Pureé, topped with toasted Pistachios and Salsa Verde, and served with Toasted Bread. Sharing is fun, but this is one dish you might want to keep all to yourself. Next time!
We also could not pass up a chance to try the Pane di Mama ($16): Aubrie’s mother’s recipe of house made bread stuffed with 24-month aged prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and basil, served with homemade marinara sauce.
OMG. Be sure to save some to eat with your meal!
Pasta courses include Vineapple’s twist on the Italian classic Cacio e Pepe Mac n’ Cheese ($16), with perfectly cooked elbow pasta in a creamy mild cheddar cheese sauce, prosciutto di parma and fresh herbs, served with a crunchy top and served in a cast-iron pan. We ordered this as a side dish to share with our entrees and were excited to find that it did not skimp on the prosciutto. The extra protein from the ham makes it a hearty meal for one on its own.
Brown Butter Chicken ($18) — the first of two entrees we split –includes two pounded-thin, pan-seared chicken breasts served over butternut squash puree, with a ton of roasted wild mushrooms and, as you can see, they are quite generous with the butter! This is definitely the dish for mushroom lovers, and the two pieces of meat made it very easy to split between us without anyone fighting over who got the bigger portion.
One of the things Anne and I loved about Vineapple Cafe is how they make it easy to share dishes with a dining companion — because don’t you want to enjoy as many delicious foods as possible? The Hanger Steak ($24) tastes as good as it looks in this photo, and we appreciated that it arrived at our table sliced, so we could divvy it up easily. This steak is extremely flavorful, cooked in a red wine reduction sauce, served over celery root puree, with roasted seasonal vegetables (ours included grilled white onions and tender baby Brussels sprouts) completing a very attractive plate. So good.
On the dessert menu, Vineapple offers their housemade Tiramisu ($10), but it has limited availability, so if you’re a fan you might want to ask you server to set a piece aside for you when you order your appetizers, so you don’t miss out. It’s that good. I mean, just look at it.
Another signature dessert made in-house is the Apple Pie Bread Pudding ($10). Vineapple does an original take on the classic dessert with bread baked into a cake style dessert, with a generous helping of Apple Compote, and topped with a scoop of Salted Caramel Gelato. On the night of our visit, they had run out of salted caramel and subsisted chocolate gelato, which was the only minor misstep of the evening — because chocolate and apples equals no. Whipped cream or nothing you have been better, but I give them an A for Effort!
Service at Vineapple Cafe is attentive and super friendly. Our waiter was wearing a Sid Vicious T-shirt, and Anne and I, being two former rock journalists who now write about food, enjoyed conversing with him about the legendary punk rocker’s life and career, as he was surely not even born when Vicious passed in 1979! Good times, for sure.
Vineapple Cafe, Located at 71 Pineapple Street in Brooklyn Heights, is open for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Brunch on weekends. In addition to the cozy dining room, they offer patio and garden seating for those who prefer to dine al fresco. Visit their website Here or follow them on Instagram @Vineapple71.