Van Linschotenstraat, January 15, 2013—
AS MEANS "AXLE", or perhaps "axis," in Dutch, near as I can make out, and also "ace," so there's a bit of a play on words here, in this unique produce-driven restaurant in a circular building in an outlying part of Amsterdam once known, apparently, for whatever reason, as de as. Sander, the chef, did his stint at Chez Panisse, and is dedicated to the idea of sustainability, going as far from time to time as raising not only chickens but even pigs in the side yard.
The pig tonight was not that local. Before we get to it, though, have a look at the first course: skrei — Norwegian river cod. Who knew there were codfish who, like salmon, swim upstream in fresh water to spawn? But here one is, or part of one: the flesh, a sort of granita made of its liver, and a mayonnaise using its roe in place of hen's egg. (The oil, however, is not cod liver oil: I checked. One can go only so far in the interests of culinary exploration. I suffered through cod-liver oil as a child.)
Well, it was a delicious dish. Afterward we had a deliciously revisionist borscht with a generous slice of lardo, and then the fillet of skrei, and then finally the pig, wild boar in this case, served with parsley root; and for dessert a splendid Vacherin Mont d'Or, silky, smooth, and fresh as pasture. A fine succession of courses, well thought out, prepared with finesse, served with pleasure. There are two eating spots in this town, at diametrical ends of an axis running from Barentszstraat to Prinses Irenestraat, and I'm thankful for both.
Roussillon, Le Roc des Anges, 2007: deep, flavorful, very sound, completely mature
•Restaurant As, Prinses Irenestraat 19, Amsterdam; +3120 644 01 00