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:
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:
Oh I love my boys so much.
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.
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.)
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.
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.)
I am assured that this will be the pied a terre to end all pieds a terres. I trust you guys.
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.
I was pole-axed with jet lag and over indulgence by this point — about midnight, and Jason insisted on calling me an Über. 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.
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.
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.
[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.]