The Dutch

People of­ten in­quire about what my fa­vor­ite res­taur­ant is. I really do not have one, but if I have en­joyed fine meals at sev­er­al places, I will fol­low a spe­cif­ic chef if he or she opens a new res­taur­ant.

People of­ten in­quire about what my fa­vor­ite res­taur­ant is. I really do not have one, but if I have en­joyed fine meals at sev­er­al places, I will fol­low a spe­cif­ic chef if he or she opens a new res­taur­ant.

Sev­er­al weeks ago, chefs Lee Sty­er of Fond, 1537 S. 11th St., and Jon­carl Lach­man of Noord, 1046 Task­er St., and Neuf, 943 S. Ninth St., joined culin­ary forces and opened The Dutch, a break­fast/brunch/lunch res­taur­ant at 1527 S. Fourth St. I have savored a num­ber of fine meals at Fond and Noord and looked for­ward to sampling a few items from the menu.

You may re­call this res­taur­ant was the former loc­a­tion of 4th and Cross. Noth­ing has been done to the in­teri­or. It is a bright cheery space with a counter and gen­er­al seat­ing. Blue and white are the calm­ing col­ors off­set by spring tulips here and there in a ri­ot of col­or.

Riv­el Broth­ers cof­fee ($3) was a bit weak for my taste, but it warmed me up on my first vis­it, which oc­curred on a cold, nasty day.

The roas­ted mush­room om­elette with Ta­leggio ($14) was an ode to France with a bit of Italy in­side. The om­elette was golden and moist as one would be served in France. The mush­rooms were per­fectly seasoned and were off­set by the creamy burst of Ta­leggio, some­times called the Brie of Italy. I ac­tu­ally prefer it. The om­elette stayed pip­ing hot throughout lunch. Good roas­ted pota­toes, wheat toast, and a side of thick slice ba­con ($6) kept me happy. So did the beet marmalade pre­pared by Sty­er. Sounds weird but it was ac­tu­ally tasty.

The Cobb salad ($15) has un­der­gone nu­mer­ous changes since it was in­ven­ted at The Brown Derby in Hol­ly­wood many years ago. I like it as a com­posed salad, but this ver­sion held true to the clas­sic in­gredi­ents. Roast tur­key, crisp ba­con, blue cheese, salad greens, hard cooked eggs done up in beet juice and green god­dess dress­ing formed the in­gredi­ent list. The salad re­quired a bit more dress­ing, but it is al­ways best to un­der­dress and add more.

Our second vis­it offered a num­ber of culin­ary firsts and sur­prises.

You must try Baby Dutch Sa­vory Pan­cake ($11). The bat­ter, with the in­clu­sion of milk for a vel­vety tex­ture, and well-beaten eggs are poured in­to a cast iron skil­let. The large pan­cake was topped with scal­lions and tiny bits of bo­logna, heady with gar­lic, and al­lowed to set on top of the stove. The skil­let goes in­to the oven, and what I got was one of the most de­li­cious and un­usu­al ver­sions of a brunch dish I have ever tasted. The mix­ture is a cross between a creamy quiche and a pan­cake. A bit of su­per­fine sug­ar was sprinkled on top. I ad­ded a wisp of salt and nixed the syr­up. This was per­fec­tion on a plate. A side of scrapple ($6) was crisped in a skil­let and im­par­ted the salty/pep­pery fla­vors that I en­joy most from this Pennsylvania Dutch in­ven­tion.

Baked goods change daily. A straw­berry scone ($3) went well with cof­fee and would be a fla­vor­ful tea-time break. I prefer the Brit­ish style scone, which is akin to a bis­cuit. It is flakey and but­tery. This one is the way most Amer­ic­an bakers make scones. It was crusty on the ouside and crumbly in­side.

One of the spe­cials was as­paragus on toast ($12). Sty­er’s cre­at­ive juices were flow­ing with this cre­ation. He roas­ted a hand­ful of loc­al as­paragus, topped them with three sunny-side up eggs, ad­ded strips of red roas­ted pep­pers and topped the dish off with toast points. The com­bin­a­tions of fla­vors and tex­tures could not have been finer.

Sty­er no­ticed us and sent over a dish, which was an­oth­er first. It was a bread pud­ding I have nev­er tried. He takes thick cut chal­lah from Es­sen Bakery, 1437 E. Passy­unk Ave., mixes crushed ba­na­nas with well-beaten eggs, coats the chal­lah in the mix­ture, bakes the bread pud­ding in the oven, and tops them with sliced ba­nana and a que­nelle of cin­na­mon whipped cream. Pure maple syr­up mixed with chopped wal­nuts topped off the bread pud­ding in a fash­ion I had nev­er sampled be­fore.

Serv­ers and as­sist­ant serv­ers kept everything on an even keel. I found a new brunch place and will re­turn a num­ber of times.

I can­not not stop think­ing about the ba­nana/chal­lah bread pud­ding. Like the great Wil­lie Mays, “it doesn’t get bet­ter than that.”

Four tips of the toque to The Dutch. ■

1527 S. Fourth St.



Photo by Tina Gar­ceau


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