Brooklyn High Low is a new indoor and outdoor tea room in Prospect Heights along Vanderbilt Avenue, one of the most activated open restaurant streets in the city. When we walked into the “classic-British-meets-Brooklyn-style” escape at 611 Vanderbilt Avenue for a previously-scheduled reservation on the day the President-Elect of the United States was announced, it provided a perfect environment to reflect in the midst of the spontaneous elation that took over the streets. Outside, we were taking in the extraordinary stimulus of the city on an unprecedented day. The moment we stepped inside, we were ushered into a whole different world dedicated to tea, food, service, and design.
Hidden behind willowy, translucent curtains, the front parlor room of Brooklyn High Low is decorated to a T with eclectic vintage furniture. That’s no surprise given that Brooklyn High Low was started by Honey Moon, the owner of the long-running vintage boutique, 1 of a Find just a few doors down at 633 Vanderbilt Avenue. Moon sums it up well: “As a business owner and mother of four, I saw a need for an escape from my daily pace for an unbothered hour. An afternoon tea does exactly that—it almost suspends reality for a bit and offers some civility in a frenetic world.”
In the parlor, welcoming tufted chairs and couches along an exposed brick wall anchor the separate seating areas already set up for high tea. Even more importantly for these times, the set up conforms to New York City’s current COVID-19 regulations for indoor dining. But the real highlight is the backyard patio.
The lush outdoor space has four separated picnic tables set amidst what feels like an enclosed garden. The vintage decor continues out here, with mirrors, salvaged window frames, and an Alice in Wonderland-esque display of teapots within the hanging plants. You can easily envision private parties, baby showers, and bridal showers here.
The back patio is where we took in a full afternoon tea, while Honey and her daughter shared with us the menu created by James Sato, a partner in Chuko Ramen, the famed ramen spot also on Vanderbilt Avenue. Sato is a graduate of the International Culinary Institute and a Morimoto veteran.
The teas are separated into categories — “Some of the Classics,” “Herbals” (including a “new Mommy Tea” for new mothers), “Black Teas,” and “Special Teas” like an oolong orange blossom or a strawberry almond green tea.” The idea of the “unbothered hour” for busy New Yorkers applies to the tea selection, which Moon describes as curated with “your comforts in mind.”
The high tea service started with a delicious butternut squash soup with cream served in a vintage double-handled bouillon cup. The tiny sandwiches included were of cucumber and dill cream cheese, ham dijon and fig spread, egg salad, chicken curry and apple salad, smoked salmon and dill cream choose, Branston pickle chutney and cheese, and a special of the day sandwich. Biscuits, fluffy pancakes and a cole slaw round out the food offerings.
But wait, there’s also dessert! Two tarts topped with blueberries, chocolate covered strawberries, shortcake, and a chocolate mousse topped with cream and chocolate sprinkles, paired with flutes of champagne.
Desserts are kid approved!
If you’re looking for something alternative to do for Thanksgiving weekend, Brooklyn High Low is a comforting spot to discover. No walk-ins, reservations are required which can be made through Open Table, by phone 347-295-3968, by email [email protected], or by direct message on Instagram @brooklynhighlow. Plan for a 75 minute tea service, select times between 10 AM and 3:30 PM.
Next, check out our guide to the unique things to do for Thanksgiving this year. Also discover 25 other great places for afternoon tea in NYC.