Dutch New Herring with Beer Pairings at Jimmy’s No. 43

"There is nothing quite as surreal as seeing a crowd of well-dressed Dutch drinking beer and dropping fish into their mouths. "

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The time-honored technique for enjoying New Catch Holland Herring, or “Hollandse Nieuwe,” as modeled by Niki Russ Federman of Russ & Daughters, made me wonder: What's better than channeling one’s inner pelican by downing a fillet of barely cured fatty fish?

Downing it at Jimmy’s No. 43. The East Village rathskeller held a Dutch Beer and New Herring Night last Tuesday, and since it was such a huge success,they will be offering New Catch Holland Herring through next week. Owner Jimmy Carbone’s friend Umit Celebi, who lived in Holland for 13 years, said the seasonal treat was lekker, or delicious, and ate three orders. I followed suit and held the fillet by the tail and lowered it into my gullet, but not before dragging it through a pile of minced onions first. Once I overcame fears of splashing precious omega-3-rich fish oil all over myself, I managed to enjoy it.

And then a contingent of Dutch dressed more for the Upper East Side than the East Village arrived.

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Earlier that evening Jimmy told me the $7 traditional herring special was “really for the Dutch people.” I just didn’t realize there would be so many of them, nor could I ever have fathomed the depths of their enthusiasm for New Catch Holland Herring. The piscivores had just come from the opening of Dutch Seen: New York Rediscovered, a photography exhibit at the The Museum of the City of New York.

There is nothing quite as surreal as seeing a crowd of well-dressed Dutch drinking beer and dropping fish into their mouths. Federman arrived at around the same time as the Dutch did. She told me she had nothing to do with Jimmy’s New Herring Night. It all started when Carbone told Larry, a genial and bearded Russ & Daughters counterman who resembles a less curmudgeonly George Carlin, that he had a lot of Dutch customers.

Looking for a beer pairing to go with your herring? Warren “Beer Sensei” Monteiro of Ale Street News recommends brews with bright, flowery hops such as Victory Prima Pils.

Jimmy's No. 43

43 East 7th Street, New York, NY 10003 (b/n 2nd and 3rd Avenues, map) 212-982-3006