VACCA Grill & Lounge Brunch will milk your cash out

VACCA Grill & Lounge (Brunch)  ★★☆☆☆

(212) 544-0070 · 416 W 203rd St New York, NY 10034


My wife, Vanessa, and I along with 6 other family members visited VACCA Grill & Lounge for Brunch to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday last Sunday.

We knew the ambient is not the usual quiet talk, drinks and breakfast. It’s more of nightclub feel, upbeat, loud music, glam lighting and hookah.

VACCA Grill & Lounge may have a kids menu, but their Brunch is not a kid friendly place. Uncensored music and plenty of alcohol.

Eat before you get there. The food may taste good, but because of the short staff you will be waiting more than an hour before you feast. The fixed plate is $35 + TAXES + 20% SERVICE = You will pay at least $45 which also includes 1 hour and 30 minutes of unlimited Mimosa and/or Sangria to drink from a cheap plastic champagne glass.

Music: If you love Latin music (mainly Dominican) you will like the live mixed by the DJ, who will shout out names of people celebrating their birthdays from time to time and take the opportunity to promote $80 bottles, killing the cheers of celebrations instantly.

No credit or debit cards: When you go to VACCA Grill & Lounge make sure to bring a lot of cash since they don’t take plastic. Convenient enough they do have an ATM in the lounge that charges a ridiculous $5 fee for transaction, keep in mind your bank will charge an additional $3 fee. Now think how that money adds up when you have a party of 8 people and most carry plastic. That’s half a bottle right there.

Food: VACCA Grill & Lounge has a Prix fixe menu. For the entry I tried the Guacamole and chips made with freshly fried tortillas, and it tasted good. The restaurant also serves Wings, Calamaris and Empanadas. Because of the wait before your main course is served, I suggest to go with a more filling entry like the Buffalo wings or Empanadas.
For the main course selection, they have the typical Dominican dish Tres Golpe (Mangú, cheese, salami, eggs), Grilled Salmon,  Linguine and Steak al Caballo with fried cassava stick. I had the steak, it was delicious and filling. Don’t bother asking how you want the meat cook, by the time the food arrives waiter may have forgotten who order what.
It does not include dessert.

The pitcher of Sangria was left untouched after everyone got a chance to taste it.

Drinks: VACCA Grill & Lounge may be understaffed and for that reason they may have a slow service, but when it comes to drinks, I can’t think of an excuse to defend the part-time restaurant. VACCA Grill & Lounge served me the worst margarita I have ever tasted in my life. We all tried it, we play the taste game, what did the flavor assimilated the most? My first and only sip brought me flashbacks of my childhood growing up in Corona, Queen. “.25 cents red juice” was my guess. “Juicy Juice Fruit Punch from the large can” someone else suggested. The Mimosa wasn’t as bad, but definitely not made with quality orange juice and/or very cheap champagne if any.
Disposable plastic cups are placed on the table for water which is served in the same pitcher as other drinks. So don’t be surprised if your water has a funny taste, that’s just because the pitchers weren’t washed and rinse well.

If you are looking for a place to have Brunch, steer away from VACCA Grill & Lounge. They’re plenty of places with the same ambient in Inwood. So take the extra $8 you will save by using plastic and go to a spot with better food, better drinks and certainly better service.

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