The Dutch - New York City, NY

Oyster Sliders from The Dutch

One sky-less morning wandering down endless city streets, camera in hand, I pause. A benighted alley looms beside me. Eyes like pinpricks aflame sway suspended in the dark. Somewhere deep inside a fence rattles in the stale wind, a baby howls, muffled, a crone coughs. Trashcan fires spurt light hooded by gouts of smoke, illuminating bulbous shifting tatters. My neck hair prickles. This is a forgotten place, I think. Unchanged for ages.

            My city is vast, thriving and expanding for as long as human history goes back. In its corners and nooks nestle cultures once familiar, made foreign by time and isolation.

            From the near-black cove jolts hollow laughter, a vacant howl. Feet shuffle to a tunelessly twanged cigar-box guitar. This is their homeland, these alley people. The squalor is unimaginable. The cloying smell of human decay hangs heavy, even here, at the alley’s entrance.

            I linger in silence, wondering whether to venture in, hurry on or stay. My camera hangs impotent by my side. Can I help them? No. My knowledge of everything outside, everything they do not and cannot have, would only damage. Any gifts I gave them would be temporary.

            They’ve survived in this alley for decades, millennia, ages. They are alley people born of alley people born of alley people and on. They are none else and know nothing else. None leave and fewer still enter. They must be wretched, unhappy.

            But then again...

            I shift. My senses recast their information.

            Their minds are not mine. Their world is theirs. With different knowledge in our brains, how can I judge their space? What else is there but for them to laugh and growl and harrumph in their privation? The alley’s dim contours are all they know in total entire. The harsh notes of another cackle reach my ear. Yes. They are alive in their spot: rich.

            They eat what the city affords them in vermin and bugs, trapped and cooked with — to their minds — unimpeachable skill. They lap at the water that leaks down the mildewed walls as if it were Elysian mead. The errant comfort of the modern world — a snapped umbrella, a half-eaten bagel — are as manna to them from the great unknown. When they turn in on their moldy newspapers, thinly covering the damp unforgiving concrete, they are as kings resting their weight on beds of down.

            When one knows not what rich means, then one can never be poor. They know only the alley, have known only the alley. This is their world to relish. They are happier than I, who wants for little yet yearns for more.

            These spit-slipping, scum-scraping, odiferous, cackling, clammy, sunken, forgotten lot are gods of an inverse Olympus.

            I look at my polished shoes, frown and move on.




4.2 Stars

Sophisticated, curated, celebrated. Hey, what can you expect? This is a hot NYC spot. They make highbrow food for a highbrow crowd.


Bring the Card

Food in NYC at a nice spot will never be cheap, and this doesn’t vary much from that formula. Brunch entrees run ~$20, “Supper” Entrees in the $30s and $40s. Apps and other vittles will only raise the bill. Though the fare is quite worth the price (in a New York sense).


Well-Designed, Hip, Cool, Traditional-With-A-Modern-Twist, Foodie Pleaser

The ambiance feels effortless and comfy. You can tell it was designed by professionals earning top dollar. Space is ample, yet you’ll still need a reservation for certain.


New York’s Finest

Whether it’s the struggling actors trying to make a good impression, the higher-than-average tips or the general competition, New York’s service is second to none. The fine men and women of The Dutch keep the high bar on its proper rung.



The Dutch is great. It’s tasty, you get ample food, you leave full and happy. Still, something feels missing. I think it’s this: there’s a lack of personal passion about the place, which is by no means a reason not to go. It’s simply to say that if you never go to the Dutch, your life will not be over. You will not immolate immediately in a flame of regret. Maybe I’m holding the Dutch to too high a standard. But then again, this isn’t Old York. Put another way, it feels like The Dutch is a calculated step, one made from experience, expertise and a keen eye on customer turnover and portion cost. That may be an artsy fartsy critique (it is), but still, I know of many other restaurants inside New York and out that seem like a chef’s dream come true, rather than another notch on a celebrated chef’s belt. Granted, it’s a nice notch, but it’s a notch nonetheless. Check the Dutch if you want a tasty, curated meal. However, if you want to feel like you’re experiencing the passionate outpouring of someone’s chef-ly heart, there are plenty of fish in the restaurant sea.