Since G was home and able to join me on my excursion to SoHo a few Sundays ago for my calligraphy workshop with Laura Hooper, we decided to make the most of our time and hit up The Dutch for a leisurely pre-class brunch. We chose The Dutch partly for its convenient location right next door to the workshop venue, The Lofts at Prince, but also because I had found in my where-to-eat-googling that Chef Andrew Carmellini's outpost for regional American fare—not Dutch, as the name might suggest—had rave reviews. It came up on many "best places to eat" lists in SoHo. (That's short for "South of Houston street," for you non-Manhattanites.) The accolades are well deserved.
Brunch is just breakfast without a cocktail, so we ordered up two drinks stat. (Plus, I was trying to shake off those workshop jitters.) I tried a Campari concoction and was pleasantly surprised to find it not too mouth-puckeringly bitter while the hubs stuck with what he knows: gin.
The brunch menu does not have an over-abundance of options but the nicely edited assortment is sure to offer something for everyone. A loyal fan of Eggs Benedict, I couldn't resist tasting The Dutch's take on the classic. Listed on the menu as poached eggs (fresh and organic from Feather Ridge Farms in Milton, NY), cheddar biscuit, ham, chipotle and tomato, the dish arrived deconstructed as such; the ingredients all separate but ready to mingle in a warmed, shallow bowl. Since I'm not a cheese lover (I know, I know), I asked to trade out the cheddar biscuit for the restaurant's signature honey butter variety. The kitchen kindly obliged and, thankfully, the dish was no less delicious.
The eggs were perfectly cooked and I would have greedily consumed three more of those sweet, flaky biscuits if given the chance. But the star of the show, in my humble opinion, was the roasted tomato sprinkled with oregano. In adulthood, tomatoes have become one of my favorite foods and this particular tomato was not only the best I've ever tasted, but it was likely one of the most—let's say top 5 best—lip-smacking, mmm-mmm good things I've ever put in my mouth. And I informed my hubby of this revelation with every bite I took, my emotions a mix of total glee and utter despair as the ruby red juicy jewel of a tomato disappeared from my plate. Thank you, summer sunshine, and kudos to the cook who slow-roasted that baby to a heavenly place.
I can't wax poetic about G's meal, but judging by his cleared plate and happy face I'm going to say he thoroughly enjoyed his shrimp and kimchi fried rice topped with two impressively-cooked sunny-side up eggs, served with grilled pork belly. But we both agreed that if we return, he must order The Dutch's famous hot fried chicken, not just because of the hype surrounding it but because the couple next to us ordered it and we started to drool. (Turns out Carmellini has shared the recipe, but I'd rather have someone else do the cooking, and the 12-hour marinating.)
Unsurprisingly, there was a wait when we walked into The Dutch that Sunday and I'm glad we decided to take bar seats by the window, looking out onto Prince Street. It doesn't get much better than sipping on cocktails (and later, a glass of Gothic "Telltale" Pinot Noir Rosé), devouring some good eats and people-watching (SoHo offers a chic show)—all in air-conditioned comfort.
Now, this isn't exactly brunch related, but when I got out of my workshop around 5 p.m., the clouds were doing some amazing things. While crossing the street I finally looked up and saw what a lovely view SoHo has of One World Trade Center, the glistening building towering in the distance, piercing the sky. So I'll leave you with that pretty view—and probably a grumbling tummy.