Prinseneiland, Amsterdam, September 20, 2016—
THIS WILL ALWAYS BE among one of my Big Five restaurants: any involving our friend Kees. And so it is almost always our first stop in this city: a modest, comfortable dining room on the Barentszstraat, out in the zeeheldersbuurt near the main railway station.
We'd breakfasted in the Reykjavik airport, on salmon and beer, and lunched on coffee and a raisin bun at Schiphol. By dinner time we needed a reset, and Marius was just the place.
We began with the house amuse-gueule, olives, salami, bread and olive oil — the salami a saucisson sec from Saumur, complex and sophisticated.
Next, the Contessa and I going mezzo-mezzo: skate with spinach sautéed in brown butter; squid, sliced into strips, with tomato and a marvelous Georgian-inspired "pesto" involving walnuts, raisins, and spices.
Main course: for her, roast quail with duck liver; for me, braised beef with chanterelles, corn, and romanesco. The beef was from a retired dairy cow, summoning childhood memories from the farm; deeply flavored, sound and nourishing.
Wines: Greco di tufo, Calafe, 2009 (!); Fixin, Domaine Gérard Seguin "La Place", 2014 (very nice indeed)
Restaurant Marius, Barentszstraat 173
1013 NM Amsterdam; +31 20 422 78 80