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NL, Any thoughts?

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My wife and I are taking four out-of-towners to dinner a week from this Saturday. We have a reservation at NL, but we do not know anyone who has been there. Thanks in advance.

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    Aditya Pradja

    I was at NL about three weeks ago. Here's what I think about this new Dutch Restaurant,

    FOOD :
    The quality of food is pretty good and it's not as authentic as the food you can find in the Netherland. It's more gourmet than a plain authentic food.

    But I would recommend their crocquete and steak for appetizers. It's really good.

    For main entree, we had the rijtafel (Rice with rendang, sate 'satay in English,' and one or more side curried side dishes, cost about $25-30. It's pretty mild and the satay is very weak, because in Indonesia, satay is barbequed on charcoal, while here, they grilled the satay (I guess in NYC you can really expect too much). But I think the food is adjusted to New Yorkers taste or more like a Dutch inspired Ritjtavel. So, being a Indonesian, who eats this since I was born I might have the real Indonesian taste of Ritjtavel. Go try it, let me know, then try the one at Borobudur Cafe or Bali Nusa Indah.

    I had the rabbit (forgot what they called this in Dutch or in the menu), the rabbit tasted pretty good actually, almost like what my Grandma used to make back home.
    Actually a Dutch friend of ours made a similar food several years ago and tasted more authentic, but this is pretty good.

    Another friend of mine tried the Sri-Lankan influence entree, I didn't try it, but he said it tasted really good.

    SERVICE:
    Very good and friendly services, we had the blonde waiteress, she is Dutch from Holland. She's really friendly and talkative. She explained some of the Dutch menu to my friends. She was also very attentive.

    DECOR:
    The decor is minimalist but quite hip. It's located just right above Houston St and below NYC area, so it's a Soho wannabe but not quite accomplishing its goal. The restaurant is very small and compact. Lighting was pretty dim. But don't expect the kind of decor you would find Guastavino, The Brasserie, or Cafe Nichols. It's more like Canteen but the cheaper, much much much smaller version, and the crowd is definitely not as hip.

    On a positive side, they give out free postcards of Holland. If you go to the restroom, you can pick up free postcards. I guess they are trying to promote people's awareness to Holland. After all, Manhattan used to be Dutch's colony.

    PRICE:
    It's a little bit too pricey considering the food (it's not Le Bernadin, Daniel or Jean Georges), the decor, the atmosphere, and the service was awesome, although not world class. But I think it's worth a try because it is the only Dutch Restaurant around.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Aditya Pradja

      I was there on March 10 - 10pm on a Saturday night. The place was packed (the review had just come out in the Times) and they were out of the two most Dutch dishes that I really wanted to try - the herring appetizer and the hare entree. So I advise an earlier reservation. The waitress was also really frazzled by then, but still quite nice.

      Also, I don't recommend getting there too early to hang out at the bar. The space has a cool design (kitchen taking up the center of the restaurant) and you can watch two cute guys cook, but the place is extremely cramped, and sitting at the miniscule bar, you get bumped into all the time.

      The food that was available was good but not amazing. I had the appetizer that was very thin beef with a Dutch Old Amsterdam cheese and creamy Dutch yogurt-type topping. I recommend it, especially if there's no herring.

      For an entree, I had the last dish on the menu (sorry, I don't remember the name). It's one of the Indonesian-inspired dishes and it was very good. My friend had the tuna, which was not so impressive.

      All in all, it was fun, but nothing incredible.