The Dutch is Andrew Carmellini’s new and oh-so-popular restaurant in SoHo. My friends and I had eaten at his other establishment, Locanda Verde, for our November dinner last year. Locanda Verde was delectable and I had high hopes for The Dutch. We arrived for our 9PM reservation on the early side. With the bar too crowded for all 7 of us to fit, we stood near the hostess stand but were quickly shunted downstairs to their “living room.” The living room consisted of one hard bench situated next to the bathrooms and kitchen. Apparently we were in the way and/or not attractive enough to be seen by the front entrance. 15 minutes after our table was supposed to be ready we were finally seated. They immediately sent out two bowls of their eggplant dip, on the house – well-played sir, well-played.
Along with the eggplant dip, which was delightful (as were the crispy cracker chips that came with it), we received two loaves of cornbread. The cornbread is given to every table, which is lucky because it’s damn good. Who doesn’t love warm cornbread with a slathering of butter on it? Of their appetizers and snacks we ordered the burrata with figs, the shrimp and grits, the little oyster sandwich, and the asian white boy ribs. Jackie and I established that figs are absolutely under appreciated. The creamy burrata with the sweet figs on a crusty piece of bread was definitely a highlight of the evening, at least for me. I do have a soft spot for cheese…yum. The shrimp and grits was topped with an egg and what I tasted of it was good. I’m not much of a shrimp person. The little oyster sandwich is a like a tiny oyster po’ boy. Perfectly fried and crispy. I didn’t get a chance to try the ribs, as Dave ordered it for himself, and refused to share because they were so good. The meat fell entirely off the bone so that certainly bodes well for how delicious they are.
highlights from the entrée portion of dinner included the pecan duck with dirty rice, the pork chop, and the grilled tuna. The duck was insanely flavorful, the pork chop was the size of my head (but tasted great!) and the tuna was extremely fresh and tender. The halibut and scallops were also superb. In fact, I can generally sum up the entire meal by saying that everything was done perfectly. Everything was cooked perfectly, seasoned perfectly, and there was never a disappointing bite of food. I wouldn’t say that any of the food really wowed me or made me think “I have to have this again!” but sometimes having a meal that is done to perfection, even if none of it shocks your taste buds, is really all you want. I don’t need some crazy molecular gastronomy, I just want a meal that is enjoyable from start to finish. That is what The Dutch does so well.