The first time I ever had Andrew Carmellini's food was at Cafe Boulud, where he was the opening chef. As it was a Daniel Boulud restaurant, much of the cooking was French-derived, but Carmellini (and Boulud for that matter as well) loves all kinds of food, and he has the most restless culinary intellect of any chef I know—so what I most remember about that restaurant was its forays into other cuisines, which to this day were called Le Voyage, One month there would be a Thai mini-menu served, the next it might be barbecue (this month current Cafe Boulud chef Gavin Kayser is serving a "tour of Mexican flavors" ).
Next up for him was A Voce, which featured his sophisticated take on regional Italian food. After that he became a chef-partner at Locanda Verde, where he emphasized the more grandmotherly and deceptively homey aspects of his Italian cooking while continuing to experiment with regional American foods like fried chicken.
Now Carmellini's come full circle at just-opened The Dutch, an explicitly American restaurant which celebrates American cuisine circa 2011. That means that while there are steaks, chops, and yes, fried chicken (the staff jokes that the restaurant could have been named AC's Chicken Shack), there's also decidedly un-fusion-y versions of barrio tripe and lamb neck mole on the menu as well.
Here's a first look at the few of The Dutch's specialties—an early preview Carmellini cooked up in their first week of dinner service, therefore most definitely not a review. I will say that based on what we ate at the Dutch that Carmellini's restless culinary curiousity is well-served here, and that there is much delicious savory and sweet American food of all stripes to be had at The Dutch. We're excited to return.
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