Thursday, November 11, 2010


Amsterdam, November 9, 2010—
A VERY INTERESTING DAY for eating, today; and one I cannot do justice to here, for a number of reasons. After a leisurely morning in Friesland we drove into Amsterdam with a favorite friend (one of many, I hasten to add), a chef. We followed him as he marketed for his restaurant's evening table d'hôte dinner: tomatoes, salad, fennel; apples, pumpkins, eggs; wild boar. All this at one of the great Amsterdam wholesale markets, like the old Les Halles in Paris, or any big-city terminal, though in buildings quite up-to-date in terms of technology and, certainly, cleanliness.

Produce from everywhere, of course: South America, Africa, the Near East, any number of European countries. Almonds from California, pistachios from Turkey. Nearly every crate and box had its sticker stating quite plainly the provenance.

I was particularly impressed with the wholesaler butcher, where I talked to the man in charge of game. No farmed game here, no red deer from Poland or wherever: "I don't deal in farmed game, because I'm afraid my men will accidentally mix them in with the wild; the wild game is our specialty."

Kees liked the looks of some wild boar, and added that to the lot he'd already picked up. We crammed everything into the back of his car and drove to his restaurant where we left him to plan and begin cooking dinner while we spent the shank of the afternoon at a museum downtown.

We returned at seven o'clock for
Albacore, seared but nearly raw, with spinach with lemon-flavored olive oil, tomato, avocado, and mint-oil
Poached halibut with fennel and fennel-sauce with estragon, salsify purée
Roast wild boar rack and stewed shoulder with potato-pumpkin purée, radicchio, and little Brussels sprouts
Applecake with house-made vanilla ice cream and caramel
Marius is one of my Five Restaurants. Very rare, this combination of taste, intelligence, awareness, skill, and hospitality. We were ten at table; we probably made too much noise; I certainly didn't give the dinner its due attention. But I enjoyed it immensely, as always here.
Collio, 2009; Collioure, Domaine de La Rectoire, 2004
Marius, Barentszstraat 243, Amsterdam; +31 [0]20 422 7880

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