"Welcome to Vandal" said the gentleman outside as he pulled open the door for me. I was entering into the space formerly known as The General and Finale- a restaurant/nightclub that didn't survive the test of time. The last time I was in this space, I was downstairs with bottles popping, DJs spinning, and scantily clad go-go dancers. Now, it's like entering another world. Vandal has only been open for a few weeks, but the buzz is high. As soon as I walked in, my senses were delighted by the design and the energy. There were large groups, stylish people at the bar, and seating tables at capacity. It was like being a kid in a candy store. Everything seemed so new and undiscovered. My eyes couldn't stop bouncing from one thing to another because the space is enormous. There was one room, then another one, a breakdancing bunny, a coffee station, artwork, a selfie booth, another floor. It felt like it went on and on. It was such a treat. And the most interesting part is that I can barely see any remnants of what it used to be.
This new LES restaurant boasts an international menu with street foods inspired by Argentina, Thailand, and Italy to name a few. Seeing as how I had the chance to travel to some of these places, the menu intrigues me. Although I have been forewarned about the less than spectacular food from one diner, the next trip will have to include some nibbles just out of curiosity and to form my own opinion.
As far as the crowd, I'm not sure if this place is good for socializing or if the cocktails made everyone friendlier. However, I spoke with a lot of different people throughout the night. Initially, my plan was to check this place out for a drink, then move on to a few other LES bars. That plan went astray as I set my eyes on the downstairs lounge. I arrived at 10PM and stayed way too late. Throughout the night, I had my usual- tequila on the rocks. I also made sure to try the spiced 'pushcart wars' cocktail with jalapeno-habanero Maestro Dobel tequila. I would definitely suggest it to my tequila fans who like a bit of a kick. It's not very strong, but it's tasty.
My final advice when going to this restaurant is to dress well and be prepared for a longer night than expected. Drink prices are standard, service is good, and although my friend and I just walked up to the ropes and got a stamp, I do believe entry to the lounge is at the door person's discretion. Now go, and have a great time at Vandal!