Loseweg, Apeldoorn, January 16, 2013—IT'S AS PRETTY a dish as you can ask, I think, a well-made steak tartare, and it was just what I wanted for lunch. Our last lunch in Amsterdam for a while, alas; I like this city, and my cold hasn't let me give it culinary justice — not that I'm complaining: Just look at the last few entries!
Le Garage is a beautiful bistro, with red leather banquettes, polished black chairs, sparkling accents here and there, and polished if, at today's lunch, perhaps once in a while earnestly apprenticing service. (I speak only of the busboy, who was charming.)
The tartare is hand-ground virtually to order, from very nice young beef; it reminded me almost of the uniquely sweet raw veal you can get in Piemonte. It was presented first on a platter encircled by its proper array of condiments: salt, gherkins, mustard, an egg, what am I forgetting; then taken away to a nearby table and expertly mixed, to be brought back on a fresh assiette with a drizzle of balsamico — a bit of re-engineering there, I think, but not inappropriate. It was delicious; I wanted nothing more than the pointed toasts I preferred, this time, to frites.
Champagne; Gamay, Clos St. Fiacre, Orleans, 2011 (fruity and nicely balanced)•Cafe Restaurant Le Garage, Ruysdaelestraat 54-56, Amsterdam; 020.6797176
AFTER AN EXHAUSTING four-and-a-half-hour train and bus journey owing to deferred track maintenance, we arrived in Apeldoorn only a little hungry, more than a little out of sorts, very much indeed relievedd to be in the home of a couple of dear old friends. Anneke had made chicken soup, which I've been craving for days now; and she followed it with hutspot, a traditional Dutch huisvrouw (is that a word?) wintertime staple involving potatoes, carrots, and onions, all boiled up together, then roughly mashed and served with worst and gravy. Somehow this manages to be both hearty and delicate. We're in the country. In a provincial city; but in the country.