In a time when cuisine categorization is the first source in defining a restaurant, comes a new addition, who’s self chosen identify is purposely ambiguous and obscure. The new restaurant is The Dutch, and the cuisine of choice is American Food, whatever that may be. In considering the foods typically served to commemorate a national holiday, the first things that pop into mind are burgers, bbq, and pretty much anything you can throw on a grill and serve along side a corn on the cob. But for Andrew Carmellini it is an undefinable opportunity to cook anything and everything, which is exactly what he does, and does it well. Of course as soon as we heard there was an Oyster Room, we were there to check it out.
The Oyster Room is one of three rooms in the grand space that encompasses what looks like an all American bistro, if there were such a thing. The other two are The Prince room and The Sullivan room, named for their geographic location in relation to the corner on which the restaurant is located. Although the full menu is offered throughout the entire restaurant, each space is unique in its dining mood. With a more laid back aura, the Prince and Oyster rooms, separated by the oyster and liquor bars, are louder and more lounge type, where as the Sullivan room is slightly more on the formal side, with larger banquet style booths near a working fireplace and open kitchen. With lower lights, and louder music, the high energy ambiance is only enhanced by a menu which offers everything across the board, from fried chicken to peel and eat prawns and rabbit pot pie. Everything we tasted left our palates doing a happy dance and eagerly anticipating the next dish to come.
Situating ourselves at the Oyster bar in the Oyster Room, we began with a half dozen bivalves. Surprised to see only four varieties on the menu, Chef Carmellini later explained that he preferred to open his new baby with quality over quantity. Perhaps in the future there may be more, but for now, he’s sticking to the four. Not our type of ratio, there were three east coast and one west. From the west, the Welfleets from Massachusetts were sweet and refreshing, and slightly smaller than the meaty and delightfully light Blue Points from Long Island. The Malpeques from Prince Edward Island, were surprisingly not too briny, but nonetheless quite salty. And saving the best for last, the beautifully white-shelled Kusshi from British Columbia were deep cupped, plump, with a sweet start and an oceany finish.
As for the rest of the menu, it was a quite the challenge narrowing down our choices. But after some consultation, with several members of the very knowledgeable staff, our decision was solidified. Obviously, we had to start with the little oyster sandwich, typically known as an oyster po boy. Perfectly fried, the warm Blue Point oyster took center stage without being overpowered by the light and crispy cornmeal breading. The ultimate small bite to kick start the meal. Next up, we had the Peel N’ Eat Prawns. Served a long side a sweet red remoulade, the spiciness of the seasoning combined beautifully with the natural sweetness of the crustacean. Whats better than breaking off the head and taking a plunge into that delicacies inside. Our starters commenced with the Dressed Crab served atop of an avocado puree and a bloody mary sauce. It was delicate, light but with a kick, just like a good bloody mary cocktail.
For our entrees, we did a little surf and turf combo, ordering the Scallops and Pork chop. The Scallops seared with texture and flavor intact, were served along side robustly green spring peas and our favorite flavor of the night, the in house-pickled ramps. A very seasonal item, the vegetable in this dish brought out the naturally sweet flavors of the protein it so beautifully garnished. Although we found the pork chop to be a little tough, the smokiness, combined with the spicy glaze and swiss chard did the job in balancing it out.
No American meal would be complete without pie. And so our already gastronomically entertained palates were shocked once more with the sweet and tart flavors of the perfectly executed rhubart pie.
Oh, and the best part is they’re open late night. If you’ve been reading, its no surprise that past a certain hour, the oysterblog tends to gravitate towards a shucking station. You’ll now know where to find us!
131 Sullivan St.
New York, NY 10012