Linschotenstraat, Amsterdam, January 10, 2013—
SINCE WE WERE LAST here, last February, this favorite restaurant of our has changed quite a bit: it's bigger, with more tables; and the kitchen is bigger as well. And with the opening of Worst next door, the sausage restaurant I told you about yesterday, the proprietor Kees Elfring has stepped more often out of the kitchen, though he keeps a close eye on things. (In fact, I think the role of trainer-of-chefs is perhaps more significant in the long run than that of daily head chef, and I'm glad he devotes his energies to it.)
He did cook tonight's dinner, though, which we ate in such a daze of conversation, memory-sharing, fatigue, jet-lag and this damned cold that I can hardly reconstruct the meal for you. We began, as always, with olives and salume and a glass of Lillet, and then went on to our four-course table d'hote dinner.
I asked for a substitute for the langoustine on the first course, for I don't process such animals well. Too bad, as they were served raw, delightfully sweet little things I was told, fresh from the Dutch Waddensee off the Frisian coast. Instead I had vitello tonnato, a dish I particularly like, very nicely done.
Next came skate wing with squid ragout and vegetables, rich and delicate, with lots of lovely chanterelles; and then a very generous plate (see photo): slow-roasted pork shoulder, also with vegetables: cavolonero, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms: for Kees prides himself on his savvy with groentjes, traditionally a staple of the Dutch table.
We skipped the cheese course, having lunched at home on bread and Gruyère, and went straight to a pear walnut cake, a fragrant and substantial dish lightened with house-made vanilla ice cream, as beautifully balanced a dessert as I've had in weeks, perhaps months.
Gewurtztraminer Riesling, Eisacktaler (Alto Adige), 2011: sound, a little reserved but generous, supple; Cotes du Rhone, Domaine Chapolon (Rochegud), 2009: very serious and deep, beautiful flavor
•Marius, Barentszstraat 173, Amsterdam; 020 422 7880
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