Friday, November 23, 2018

Back to Marius

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Spaarndammerbuurt, November 23, 2018—

A WEEK OR TWO ago I dreamed I was eating dinner alone in a restaurant — really alone, sitting at a long refectory table in an otherwise empty restaurant. The waiter brought a delicious grilled quail. When I'd finished it, a pigeon. Then a poussin; then fried chicken; then roast capon.

Then pheasant. Then Guinea hen. And finally, roast goose. Oddly, there was no duck; thankfully, no ostrich. Each plate was perfect. I ate in complete silence. It was like a religious service.

Last night, our first in Amsterdam in a couple of years I think, we were at our favorite table, next to the kitchen door where we could engage with the cooks — except that we didn't: they were very busy indeed: Marius was full.

We began with baked pike — baked or poached, I'm not sure which, and the skin crisped — served with spinach, borlotti beans, and tomato. The contessa's dish had a langoustine-inflected sauce; I had to do with a simpler but very satisfying one.

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Then pheasant! Sixty years ago and more this was not an unusual dish; the fields around us were loaded with pheasant. Since grapevines replaced cow-pastures, pheasant have been absent. It was the least familiar bird in that litany of poultry I had dreamed. But it's not unusual here in Netherlands.

This was roasted and served sliced, with sauerkraut, potato-and-apple puree, and chanterelles, with a fine reduction. Very dutch; very satisfying.

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Dessert: Semolina pudding with poached pears in a light syrup, very simple, very refined.

Friendly, attentive, polished service. Clean, bright, snug dining room, filled with happy, enthusiastic diners. This is one of our very favorite places.

     🍷Mondeuse, Château Mérande, Le Comte Rouge (Savoie), 2015: deep but fruity, tobacco, delicious
•Marius, Barentszstraat 173, Amsterdam; 📞+31 20 422 78 80

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