Doesn't everyone look forward to a new restaurant opening?
The thrill of the chase (am I the first of my friends?).
The anticipation of something new and different (will we have another place to add to our list of favorites—or the old standbys as my mother would say?).
What will we love and look forward to on the menu?
Those are big shoes to fill and the Amsterdam burst into the Rhinebeck dining scene ready to take them on.
Currently it’s open for dinner (but open 7 days a week) with lunch and brunch “coming soon.”
Menu item are seasonal and locally sourced, but thankfully the Amsterdam doesn't feel the need to spell out the latitude and longitude of the radishes mixing it up with the pork chop special.
We started out sharing the house-smoked salmon with a big potato pancake (described on the menu as “hash brown”), a dollop of crème fraîche, a few fried capers and some micro-greens for décor. The salmon was delicious, silky with a nice punch of smoke and the hash brown was nicely crisped on the edges and creamy inside.
The house sent over a plate of rabbit pâté with bourbon-soaked cherries. It was terrific and the trio of pickled fennel, shallots and pickles were fun to mix and match with it (note to the squeamish, I can guarantee that you would never guess it was rabbit, so just order it and enjoy).
I'm a sucker for gnocchi, so I had to try the farmer’s cheese gnocchi with mushrooms, asparagus and a nettle pesto. It was a big, hearty serving of tender gnocchi. I'm not sure exactly what a nettle is supposed to taste like but the pesto was good and worked well with the mushrooms and asparagus.
Janet went with the pork chop special. It was a great tasting chop, perfectly seasoned and cooked and according to her “the best pork chop I ever ate!” The chickpea tart that came with it was interesting and unexpected. The only downside was that as much as pork fat is great, this particular chop was incredibly fatty, making the serving only about 6 meaty bites (and we wanted more—a good thing).
We skipped dessert. 4 selections on the menu, three of which had nuts so not for me. You can also opt for some nice cheeses from the area.
The service is young and friendly and if you're there on a Friday night like we were, the crowd is eclectic with a lot of people looking like they just escaped BK. They’ve just opened up the outside space, so you can dine under the stars and toss a few boules in the court between courses.
A second visit two weeks later, was even better. We were given a large charcuterie board and argued about what the best pâtés were. Definitely the chicken liver parfait and then a tie between the spring terrine (my fave) and the house pate (my friend's pick, but she may have been swayed by a perfectly mixed whisky sour).
For entrees, we had the spring cassoulet, with a perfect, crispy duck leg confit and the fried chicken, that evening’s special—worth checking out if it’s offered. The kitchen seems to have hit its stride and sent out dishes that were more confident and consistently delicious.
If you go, please mention that you read about it on HudsonValleyEATS and let us know what you think in the comments.