Recently opened restaurant, The Dutch, is the newest “must try” in Soho. The “American” restaurant’s menu from Chef Andrew Carmellini is like a culinary tour from across the U.S., and is filled with both traditional dishes, as well as those for the more adventurous.
The white-painted brick, dark wood and huge globe lights radiate a cool but understated vibe that is welcoming and friendly. The bright and airy front room with an eight-stool oyster bar and tables all around the windows is mainly used for walk-ins, while the more traditional back room with banquettes all along the back wall and a small elevated eating area is for those who have reservations.
The cocktails ($14) are not your typical frou-frou martinis. These unique concoctions range from a white-whiskey Manhattan, the East Side Manhattan full of smoky oak flavor with a sour cherry, to a new take on a margarita made with Bols Genever instead of tequila, The Dutch Courage.
The meal begins with homemade cornbread instead of your typical bread basket. It is warm, crumbly and has a few surprise pieces of jalapeño sprinkled throughout that is like fireworks on your palate.
The lighter appetizers (aka “Snacks) include what should be a signature dish, the Little Oyster Sandwiches ($5 ea). Like po-boy sliders, these perfect bites come with one crispy, lightly fried oyster, some lettuce and a mayo resembling a remoulade. Or, if you prefer your oysters the natural way, that is raw, try the Beausoleil ($3 ea). They are fresh with a light finish that isn’t too salty or briny.
The Dressed Crab, Bloody Mary, Green Goddess ($17) appetizer is a perfect warm-up to the rest of the meal. As the name suggests, the incredibly fresh, well-seasoned crab is surrounded by the combined acid, spicy and sweet flavors of a tradtional Bloody Mary (minus the vodka) and green goddess dressing. The Ruby Red Shrimp, Fried Green Tomatoes and Pepper Sauce ($17) is also a lovely starter. The sauce is more like a sweet and sour sauce than pepper, and plays nicely off the tangy, lightly-fried tomato. The jumbo shrimp are fresh and tender, yet not all three were properly cleaned.
While you might expect the seafood dishes on a menu to be similar in flavor profile, the options on this menu couldn’t be more different. The Steamed Black Bass with Mussel-Lemongrass Curry and Peanuts ($29) has a light, flaky texture and the curry sauce gives it a spicy finish. But, it’s the fresh veggies holding up the fish that brings the dish alive. The Black Cod with Smoked Mushrooms and Yuzu-Chili Broth ($28), is tender and juicy and the light, white fish that is usually mild takes on the robust and smoky undertones from the mushrooms and the citrus from the Yuzu that gives it an intense depth of flavor. The Sea Scallop, Spring Peas, Bacon and Pickled Ramps ($26) is buttery and sweet with a perfect golden-brown sear. The knife cuts through the scallops like butter and the sweet peas give a slight crunch. The essence of bacon throughout ties everything together.
The Grilled Squab with Snap Peas, Smoked Foie and Cherry Mustard ($36) is the definition of decadence. The sweet smoked foie gras and fresh cherries bring the perfect balance to the salty, fatty squab. The sugar snap peas are bright and bring a crunchy texture to the plate.
Don’t miss out on the Housemade Fries ($7) – it will be the best $7 ever spent. Each fry is a crispy, golden brown with just the right amount of salt. No dipping sauce is needed.
For dessert try whatever homemade pie is on the menu. The Rhubarb Pie is a beautiful blend of sweet and sour with a lattice work of crispy, flaky crust. The Rhubarb Sorbet is light and tangy, and the for the more savory dessert-lovers make your own cheese plate with a selection of three, five or seven great American cheeses.
131 Sullivan St., at Prince St.
New York, NY 10012
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