Edible Americana at The Dutch
It's telling when a restaurant already has a signature dish by the end of its first week in business.
So we knew that The Dutch, a new American bistro from chef Andrew Carmellini, was on to something when early reports of an oyster slider flooded the Internet.
Indeed, the slider ($5) is worth some cacophony: The fried bivalves are given thermodynamic balance inside a mini sesame bun with piquant pickled-okra sauce and iceberg lettuce. It's the first of several dishes that evoke a specific, mythically American moment in time (in this case of beach picnics and sandy summer days).
And that's only the prelude: Venture onward into a Jersey asparagus salad, its mid-century business-lunch connotations updated with a creamy kaffir-lime curry dressing and peanuts ($15). A link of lamb sausage, smoked and intensely gamey, meets tangy yogurt and quinoa ($15). It has elements of the Middle East but is interpreted through local ingredients such that it feels as indigenous as a dish from a New York street cart.
A duck dish that rivals its sister at Carmellini's other restaurant, Locanda Verde, comes weighted with pecans and celery; it receives further heft from a Southern-wrought (and liver-studded) dirty rice ($28).
Then there are the unabashedly symbolic dishes of American cuisine: Fried chicken (lunch and late-night menus only) with fresh biscuits ($21), steaks aged in-house and a daily rotation of both sweet and savory pies do right by their largely clichéd categories.
Although the restaurant's name may be foreign, the dishes succeed at being deliciously familiar.
The Dutch, 131 Sullivan St. (between Prince and Houston sts.); 212-677-6200 or thedutchnyc.com
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