The Dutch American Bistro | Soho, New York

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 clich├ęd 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