LLG in New York: Dinner at The Dutch, Drinks at Buvette & Blizzard Nemo

by Sasha Wilkins on February 13, 2013 · 12 comments

The Dutch

I walked past The Dutch on Thursday afternoon, on the way home from NYFW designer Jen Kao’s studio. A crisp, clear afternoon.

This is what it looked liked on Friday night around midnight:

New York snow West Village Nemo

Just a little bit snowy.

I had the most wonderful Friday evening with my boys at The Dutch. For those of you who are new-ish to LLG, back in 2009 I stayed out in New Jersey for three months or so with Jason & Yoann, two of my dearest friends, and their Basset Hounds Max & Finchley. (Chronicled under the My Life in New Jersey category.) If I don’t see them for a while I get separation anxiety and, as it’s been over a year, sticking a dinner date in my schedule last week was of paramount importance.

So the boys boarded les chiens out for the evening, booked themselves in at The Standard for the night, and I made reservations. Well, actually a friend pulled strings at The Dutch in Soho, on the corner of Prince & Sullivan, and got me a 730pm Friday three top. I’ve wanted to eat there forever. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s other restaurant, Locanda Verde in Tribeca is so very, very good, so I had high hopes of The Dutch, with its modern American menu, and emphasis on good local ingredients.

Here’s YoYo looking mightily happy to be indoors in the warmth, one gin & tonic down, and oysters en route:

2013-02-08 20.10.11

Oh I love my boys so much.

2013-02-08 22.32.41

The boys love eating out and drinking good wine just as much, actually no, even more than I do, and goodness we did The Dutch justice. The boys polished off a dozen oysters as an amuse bouche. YoYo followed up with a fried oyster sandwich, and Jason had steak tartare. I had stracciatella (thin strands of fresh mozzarella soaked in double cream) toast with pears, walnuts and little chips of fractal green cauliflower. One of the most balanced and delicious things I have enjoyed in a long, long time.

The Dutch

We drank a Gruner Veltliner. Then it was on to the main course. Lobster cocktail, spicy lemon for YoYo – who always orders lobster; Chicken fried quail, peach, bourbon for Jason, and for me, smoked ricotta ravioli, tomato sauce, soft herbs. There was a mountain of housemade fries, a side of Kabocha squash with dates & walnuts and something utterly delicious: a 3 grain mushroom pilaf with black kale, of which  I could happily eat a bucket. We drank an excellent Bandol, which wasn’t on the list, but was lurking in a box Nina the sommelier had stashed away. (The menus make for tummy rumbling reading here.)

The Dutch

And there was pudding too. *burps*. My memory is a little hazy around this point, but I think I had Meyer lemon glazed donuts with marmalade, and Jason definitely had a giant slice of banana cream pie, which made his face light up like a five year old. Can’t remember YoYo’s…

Jason, who by this point, was practically stroking Nina, now decided to go all out and ordered Chartreuse as a kind of trou Normand. Green for the boys, Yellow for me.

Thank you darling boys for treating me to a most extravagant dinner. It was epic.

I properly loved The Dutch: the staff were charming, take-no-shit funny, our corner table was excellent for people watching, the clientele was young, hipster-ish without being desperately self-conscious, and the bar girl made me an excellent hot toddy to warm me up whilst I waited at the bar for the boys. Yes, people I was early, it was a snowstorm miracle.

And. speaking of which, every so often I would look up from shovelling scrumptious food, peer over Jason’s shoulder at the falling snow in the street behind him, and squeak that we were in a movie moment. There’s something about eating in corner restaurants in Soho and the West Village that always feels like being in a Manhattan movie.

 

New York snow West Village Nemo

After dinner, we had great plans to walk up and across Houston to Bedford to check out the progress of the boy’s reno project on their new pied a terre, but the blizzard was in full swing, and after one block of Sullivan with horizontal snow blasting our faces, we hailed a cab to take us the couple of blocks. (Nothing to do of course with all the blood in our bodies headed to our stomachs to aid digestion.)

2013-02-08 23.14.01

West Village in the snow

I am assured that this will be the pied a terre to end all pieds a terres. I trust you guys.

West Village in the snow

Then we walked through the gloriously snowy West Village to Grove and a tiny sliver of a French wine bar, Buvette, for a bottle of Bordeaux and a slice of tarte tatin – for the boys. I would have popped for sure if even a crumb had passed my lips.

West Village in the snow

West Village in the snow

West Village in the snow

Buvette bar West Village

Buvette bar West Village

I was pole-axed with jet lag and over indulgence by this point – about midnight, and Jason insisted on calling me an Uber. Much to my glee, it didn’t turn up, so I walked home to The Tribeca Grand, loving every single minute of the twenty or so it took me.

West Village in the snow

Of all the time I have spent in New York, this must be one of the most magical experiences. The snow was very deep and thick and, in most places, completely unsullied. I had a glorious time flumping about in its powdery freshness, revelling in being able to walk down the centre of the road. Even Canal, one of the busiest streets in the city, was totally empty, a wilderness of snow. 

West Village in the snow

West Village in the snow

New York snow West Village Nemo

Yes, I did go to dinner in my snow boots. Admittedly, I did kick them off under the table, but they are amazing: I didn’t even slip once in four days of snow.

New York snow West Village Nemo

[Here would be a good moment to say that I have never requested comped meals at restaurants, and certainly never, ever review or recommend meals here on LLG - or elsewhere - that have been comped. I think that is unethical and just plain wrong.]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

michelle Gregory February 13, 2013 at 07:42

Perfection Sasha! Your writing combined with wonderful photographs captures every moment perfectly. Thank you. It has been a life long ambition of mine to go to New York! I shall be doing this in April of this year, woo hoooo!! My husband & I are going for a fortnight. My list of must see & do grows ever longer. I am so excited. I remember reading about the fire in your building in nbew York many years ago (from that moment on I was hooked) it felt like you were my direct line to New York City! Thank you for your inspirational, informative, inspiring writing, they brighten up the darkest of days. Can’t wait for your cook book!!! Best wishes always Michelle xx

Reply

michelle Gregory February 13, 2013 at 07:44

Oops ‘New’ not ‘nbew’ doh! Should have re-read before pressing send!!! X

Reply

Sarah February 13, 2013 at 09:48

Hi Sasha, I am in New York for a week of business next week, whilst I have a few fav restaurants already I wondered if you had any good recommendations of where to dine alone as a woman in the City (I am staying at the Trump near Columbus Circle) so midtown works well. Thanks for any ideas you may have.

Sarah
@scotdownsouth

Reply

Jill Calder February 13, 2013 at 09:55

Ooh how lovely! What a feast. I have duly taken note of The Dutch and Buvette for my next trip Stateside! Did you take the boots with you or did you have to buy emergency ones out there?

Reply

Lisa February 13, 2013 at 13:16

It is snowing in North Yorkshire as I read this, and have 2 things running through my mind, 1. I pray we don’t get this much snow, and 2. even with the small amount of snow, we will grind to a hault in North Yorkshire, where in NYC it would be jaust another winter day…

Reply

Anne At Large February 13, 2013 at 15:44

What an amazing evening! Thank you for sharing it (although I was secretly hoping there would magically somehow be pictures of Max and Finchley in here too).

Reply

Helen February 13, 2013 at 16:59

Reall, really lovely pictures. Heading back to NYC in May and enjoying reading all the recommendations. Shake Shack is definitely on my list.

Reply

Michelle Brideau February 13, 2013 at 17:09

I am confused and don’t know how to say this without coming off trite, so please don’t take offence by my question. Why is it ok for you to review and recommend comp hotels or beauty products but you see reviewing comp meals as so wrong and unethical?

Reply

LLG February 13, 2013 at 17:42

@Michelle Brideau: Hi Michelle, I’m really glad you asked, and am always happy to respond!

here’s my reasoning:

Beauty products are a set thing: immutable, everyone gets the same thing in the same jar or bottle. Hotels: pretty much the same. The room, the bed, the products, the building: every visitor gets the same basic thing.

However: If you are invited to a restaurant by the PR or Chef, then every facet of that meal is honed to perfection for the reviewer. It is patently not the experience of the average restaurant goer, when every member of staff is primed for your visit, and the chef is hovering over your meal on the pass, giving you extra amuses, and a bonus shaving of truffles…That being said, I don’t see anything wrong in visiting a restaurant at the behest of a PR, so long as the recipient makes it very clear that they will not critically reviewing the establishment.

The thing that makes me really froth at the mouth is bloggers who accept free – well, free anything actually, and do not disclose that relationship. As you will have noticed from LLG, I disclose everything.

[We actually had the debate over beauty products when I worked on The Wall Street Journal, which has a very strict no gifting/no press special treatment policy. I took countless meetings with the Managing Director, responsible for ethics. The conclusion that we came to was that because most of the products we were receiving were pre-launch, it was impossible to pay for them, and that, most importantly, there was no actual difference between that and going to a pre-release press screening of a movie, or a test drive of a car, both experiences that it would be impossible for a journalist to pay for.]

Re: hotels. I do not run a review of every hotel in which I stay. To this date there are three hotels that have not made the cut, as my experience was not good. I give the hotels the benefit of the doubt, in that it could have been a one off, in which case it would be patently unfair to slate it and have that review on the internet forever, and so I choose not to review it at all.

Reply

Michelle Brideau February 15, 2013 at 15:57

@LLG: Thank you for taking time to reply to my question. I completely agree with disclosure statements if everything is above board I have no problem with any kind of review.

I agree completely about beauty products for the most part because as you say everyone is getting the same product. However sometimes when you pay for a product the expectations are slightly higher than when you get a freebie however over all I think that it a happy middle ground with a disclosure included.

Hotels on the other hand are the same as restaurants in my opinion, if they know you are going to review you are going to be given a better room category than the standard, as well as a room with a better view, in a better location in the building. All hotel rooms are not equal in my experience, and all guests do not receive the same service. You will be treated better than the average joe, your reservation noted for the front desk for your check in, cleaning staff alerted etc. I am treated very differently in the hotel I have status with than in one where I don’t (as it should be).

I do really like your blog it is a great mix. I enjoy hearing about where you stay and learning about new places. Hope you will be blogging and reviewing for a long time to come!

Reply

Helena Halme February 13, 2013 at 17:14

Fantastic pictures – it looks like you had a fab time.

I’ve only been to New York once when it snowed, and, like you, when the storm raged the Englishman and I sat inside in a restaurant, called The Blue Hare, I think, full of New Yorkers wearing their snow boots – so it’s very much the thing to do there. Oh, you’ve taken me back!

Helena xx

Reply

Usha February 15, 2013 at 03:24

The smoked ravioli at The Dutch makes my heart sing! At one point it disappeared from the menu and I nearly cried.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: