Monday, April 16, 2012

Celebrating at The Dutch

New York City is a great place to celebrate the important events of life. And we like to take advantage of that. So, having received some good news and after a quick phone call at lunch, we had reservations for a restaurant we'd been hearing great things about: The Dutch.

(c) Noah Fecks, from
American food is not often emphasized on the menu of a quality restaurant. It is at The Dutch, and its done right. Tucked away in a labyrinthine space in in New York City's trendy Soho neighborhood, the restaurant is both carefully understated and high-quality casual. On a Friday night, the dining room was packed, and we were led through the twists and turns of a surprisingly large space to a table hidden in a back corner. This was to our delight, having our own little oasis in a bustling restaurant.

The menu was simple, a single page of standard American dishes. We decided that we would embrace our celebration, so we ordered a glass of Champagne and a warm eggplant dip, while we discussed our news and considered what we wanted for dinner. The wine was crisp and refreshing, and whet our appetite for the meal to come.

The wine list by the bottle was substantial, but, by the glass, they covered most of what we look for. With a range of about half a dozen whites and reds, we each found something we thought would complement our meals--a short rib ravioli for Tina and Pecan Duck for myself. Harkening back to our recent adventures in Austria, I selected a Gruner Veltliner, a favorite of mine. I expected the wine to be crisp, and I needed a crisp wine to cut through the natural fats of duck. I noticed, however, an unexpected funk in the wine, which added another layer to an already complex dish full of smokey, earthy, and nutty flavors. Tina was less pleased with her selection, as she picked a Syrah, hoping for a bit of spiciness to go with her meaty ravioli, but failed to note that the wine was from Santa Barbera, CA. The warm climate left her with a fruitier wine than she was looking for, that had no real chance to compete with the rich pasta dish. That's not to say she didn't enjoy the wine, quite the contrary. She enjoyed her wine on its own, but less so with her meal. I was less pleased with my wine by itself, but it really added to the quality of my dinner.

Since it was a celebration, we decided to indulge ourselves, and enjoy an after dinner drink with our dessert. Splitting the Banana Cream Pie, Tina enjoyed a glass of Late Harvest Riesling, while I had a scotch on the rocks. Again, I think I lucked out with the drink, as scotch always seems to have a hint of sweetness reminiscent of banana, to me. The desert was rich, but the extra drinks encouraged us to linger, and savor the last few moments of our memorable evening.

The Dutch was a great treat. The food was comforting and excellently executed. Rich in flavor, but no ingredients too out of the ordinary. But the most impressive part of our evening was the service. For our special evening, it was an added bonus to be treated so well. Too often, in busy restaurants we are either rushed or forgotten. Here, our waitress payed careful attention, letting us linger over our champagne, and bringing out our main course perfectly timed with the arrival of the wine. Its all too rare that we receive such excellent treatment, and makes us realize what we are often missing when we go elsewhere.

Dessert - in black & white

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