There are a few things that can always get my blood pumping…cute shoes, Bradley Cooper, and trying new restaurants. Nothing makes a girl feel sexy like a new pair of heels, and I’m pretty sure Bradley Cooper and new restaurants are self-explanatory. I have been excited to try a lot of new restaurants this year, and most of them have lived up to the hype. But, there is only one restaurant that has opened so far that has exceeded my expectations. The Dutch is an American restaurant in Soho brought to you by none other than Andrew Carmellini. If you are wondering why his name sounds familiar, it’s because he also brought you the deliciousness that is Locanda Verde.
Andrew is renowned for his innate ability to awaken the palate. His food is just down right delectable and the fare at The Dutch is proof of that. I went for a late dinner so it was the late night menu for this Bite-Sized Blonde. The late menu is more limited than the lunch or supper menu. But if you ask me, I think it’s a compilation of all the most mouth-watering dishes they serve. After you order, but before you get your food, they serve you a warm piece of scallion and pepper cornbread with whipped butter. This sweet and savory starter is an indication of all the scrumptious food that is on its way.
I started with the little oyster sandwiches. The golden-crusted oyster sat on a soft bun with a generous dollop of a smoky aioli and crispy lettuce. The oyster was so fresh you could taste the ocean. It was salty and briny and all the things a good oyster should be.
I followed the oysters with one of my new favorite dishes, Smoked Ricotta Ravioli. It’s such a simple, yet not obvious idea that is executed flawlessly. The smoked ricotta adds a depth of flavor to a tried and true Italian classic. The pasta was perfectly al dente which is a testament to AC’s skills. The ravioli rests on a bright red bed of sweet yet subtle tomato sauce. The dish was finished with soft herbs, which added an element of freshness to one of the best dishes I have had in a while. There are about 10 ravioli in an order, and I swear I could have eaten 100 of them. I almost asked the waitress to put in another order, but then remembered I also ordered fried chicken and a burger. This Bite-Sized Blonde has big eyes and an appetite to match, but hey, even I have my limits.
I’m usually not a lover of fried chicken, but the fried chicken at The Dutch is noteworthy. The skin is jam-packed with smoky flavor and lots of cayenne for a touch of heat. It’s crunchy and yet the meat is juicy as can be. It’s not an easy task to cook a piece of fried chicken like that; this is yet another testament to AC’s talent.
I didn’t think this meal could get any better after the ravioli, but they always say the best things happen when you least expect them, right? Well that’s what happened at The Dutch. To say I love a burger would almost be an injustice to burgers everywhere; it doesn’t nearly convey the love in my heart and my stomach. If I could eat one meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of my life it would be a burger with a glass of champagne to wash it down. What can I say; I’m a simple girl.
This simple girl happens to be a tough critic when it comes to food, but especially burgers. I guess that’s expected from a Food Snob though. My new favorite burger, and I do not say this lightly, is the cheeseburger at The Dutch. Cooked to a perfect medium, the burger’s juices ooze into the bun, adding flavor to flavor. The meat is tender beyond words. The delicate bun is the perfect vehicle for this patty of love. It’s covered in one slice of cheddar cheese, a thick slice of ripe tomato, a crispy piece of lettuce and a generous dollop of special sauce. The special sauce is creamy and smoky and so good that ketchup is not only unnecessary, it’s shameless. One bite and my knees were weak. The fries were a little too well done for my liking, but it was almost a blessing in disguise.
As if the incredible food wasn’t enough to make you want to spend an evening at The Dutch immediately, the atmosphere is also fantastic. Andrew makes his own playlists, and the boy knows his music as well as he knows his food. My dinner didn’t end until 2:00 am, but I still found myself wanting more of The Dutch. I probably would have slept there if the staff had allowed it.
131 Sullivan Street
New York, NY