Andrew Carmellini strikes again! His Tribeca restaurant, Locande Verde, still draws packed nights every night of the week (which is terrible for the Hungry Korean because she would like to eat there more frequently than is allowed). His second restaurant, The Dutch, located in the old Cub Room space in Soho is just as successful. Case in point, I met my friend Scarf at 6:30 pm to nab a bar seat as the evening was fully committed. We got there just in time to get the last bar seat for two – the wait for a table at that hour was 45 minutes to an hour!
When you sit down, you are served warm cornbread with scallions and whipped butter:
I had heard many great things about the mini fried oyster sliders so of course that was a must have. We got one each:
At first glance, I thought the bun was going to be hard but it was so soft – a nice contrast to the crunchy but luscious fried oysters. There was a dijon mustard sauce which cut the richness of the fried contents and the fresh lettuce trimming was a nice but necessary touch. The best part is they arrived piping hot – you knew they were just made. I wanted to order another but knowing we had ordered a ton of food, I refrained.
We also shared the fried chicken wings:
3 pieces of small chicken wings – the skin was incredibly crunchy and the meat of the chicken was moist. The same dijon mustard sauce found in the oyster sliders was also drizzled on the wings which didn’t appeal to me as both appetizers tasted too similar. I say get one or the other but not both. (My recommendation is the oyster sliders however.)
For main courses, we decided to share the grilled pork chop and the short ribs with a side of the cauliflower.
The pork chop is HUGE. It’s grilled and about an inch and a half thick and served with baked beans and vinegared turnips.
The pork chop at Locande Verde is phenomenal and this one did not disappoint either. It was PERFECTLY seasoned and cooked and not dry at all. I loved the salty charred parts around the bone. The baked beans lent a slightly sweet touch to every bite. It’s a pretty large portion so if you are a big eater, this is for you.
The short ribs were served with golden turnips, stout and caraway:
Unfortunately you cannot see the very dark, super tender pieces of short rib. The short rib was divine! And the restaurant gives you two good sized blocks of that wonderful meat. I couldn’t decide what I liked more, the short ribs or the pork chop! The sauce made from stout had a lovely depth and slight bitterness that worked really well with the rich morsels of meat.
The short rib comes with a side of mashed potatoes and more of that dark gravy:
Not knowing the short ribs came with the mashed potato side, we had ordered a side of the cauliflower with toasted hazelnuts, pear and butter sage sauce:
If you like cauliflower, you’ll love this. Not exactly the healthiest version but it was great – the cauliflower was roasted and then drizzled with that butter sage sauce. The roasted hazelnuts added a nice nutty crunch.
For dessert, I got another glass of wine (I was STUFFED silly) and Scarf got the banana cream pie:
Oh good heavens! This was so light and custardy and full of banana flavor. Homemade graham cracker crust and a side of vanilla ice cream. Love!
So Scarf had to leave for a party and Cookie Monster came in and took his seat. Cookie Monster had just left a work event very close by and had not eaten dinner yet. Wasn’t he lucky to have a seat all warmed and ready for him?
He started with the cold octopus salad with roasted red peppers (not photographed) as a starter and I took a bite just to taste the flavors. Very Spanish influence and the octopus was tender and not tough at all.
For main course, he chose the pecan duck with celery and dirty rice:
He liked the duck but not nearly as much as the duck served at Locande Verde (which he was actually hoping for when he ordered this one at The Dutch). I believe he found the celery a bit overpowering. I cannot speak to this dish as I did not try it.
Cookie Monster ordered the bacon button potatoes as his side:
Now mind you, I was so full I couldn’t bring myself to take more than one small bite of the octopus and I passed on the duck altogether…I tried these potatoes and could not stop picking at it! The potatoes were creamy and delicious! What did they do to it? We asked our server and she told us that there was chicken stock (which explained the great savory flavor), chopped bacon, chives and sour cream. It was like a deconstructed baked potato. I need to try and recreate this. At the bottom, the starch from the potatoes had thickened the chicken stock turning it into a thick wonderful gravy that coated each potato. YUM.
So I’m a huge fan of The Dutch. It was delicious and worth every bit of the hype. Everything Carmellini touches seems to turn to gold. It’s nice to know that there are two establishments I can turn to when I need a Carmellini fix. Reservations at decent times never seem to be available so I suggest doing what Scarf and I did, go early, grab a seat at the bar and eat there. OR you can go to the bar and enjoy one of their delicious and expertly made cocktails while you wait for a table – it’s a bustling scene. Either way, try The Dutch, you will not be sorry.
The Dutch, 131 Sullivan Street, New York, NY