|Mustard Glazed Pork Chop|
There are times when dining in Miami Beach feels like dining in New York City light. The Dutch, Shake Shack, Scarpetta, Bond Street, Nobu, Rosa Mexicano, Il Mulino and Serendipity all have Miami Beach outposts. I'm in no hurry to visit any of these places, generally: Why not eat what we can't get back home? But The Dutch, Miami Beach was too enticing to skip, given that (1) it was located in our hotel, (2) it was windy and rainy for several days straight, (3) we have a young baby who doesn't like wind and rain, and (4) I'd read some rave reviews about the food at the Miami Beach location, whose menu is actually fairly different from the NYC location.
In truth, I wasn't sure I'd be that excited about it. I like, but don't love, The Dutch, NYC. But in execution, The Dutch, Miami Beach, was exceptional. I'd be hard pressed to identify any missteps.
Yellowtail crudo with watermelon and jalapeño is a bit of a trope in many, many places by now, but The Dutch's version was much better than average. The plate was made using impeccably fresh, buttery high-sushi grade yellowtail, really a nice cut. Watermelon was sweet and firm, not grainy. Crunchy sea salt sprinkled over top was a nice contrast to the softness of all the other components.
A lobster salad with hearts of palm, mango, cucumber came with generous, flavorful, chunks of tender lobster, cooked to the perfect state of doneness, neither rubbery nor sashimi-like. Mango chunks and strips of beautiful green avocado were served at the perfect state of ripeness. The salad was lightly dressed in a not-overly-heavy creamy dressing. I often don't like creamy dressings, especially not with extremely high quality seafood, but this was not gloppy and did not obscure the flavors of the more delicate ingredients.
A main of mustard-glazed pork chop with cannellini bean ragout and kale (pictured at the top of this post) was utterly fantastic. I mean drop dead good fantastic. Thyme-scented bean ragout was a lot like cassoulet with layers upon layers upon layers of flavor built upon lardons, mirepoix and, I wouldn't be surprised to discover, pork fat. A thick, juicy pork chop, wrapped in a moderate layer of fat, was beautifully seared on the outside and finished in the oven to a perfect, just-past-pink state of doneness. As delightful as this slightly smoky pork chop was, though, it was almost secondary to the remarkable bean ragout.
I didn't think I'd be impressed by much after the pork chop main, but I was floored again by my dining companion's meltingly tender grilled lamb T-bones with olive marmalade and lemon orzo. The lamb, which she asked for medium rare, could not have been more tender. Like the pork, it'd been nicely brined and it had an interesting, thought-provoking lemony kick, I think from lemon zest in the olive marmalade. The only criticism I could think of, which may not be a criticism at all to some, would be that the lamb was so non-gamey that it hardly tasted like lamb. I personally love lamb that tastes assertively of lamb, but I know many Americans do not. It's worth noting that the NYC location does serve a very similar lamb preparation.
|Grilled Lamb T-Bones|
Pappardelle with lamb ragu, sheep’s milk ricotta & mint was an extremely well balanced dish, richly flavored with just the right amount of mint -- not an overpowering dose.
|Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu|
A side of asparagus with lemon and bread crumbs was perfectly cooked. Justin had been on asparagus strike for a while, since I've been putting it in everything since the beginning of the season and serving it three or more times a week. This version won him back over to the pro-asparagus camp. It was tender, juicy, delicate, with just a light sprinkling of bread crumbs, almost more for aesthetic effect than flavor.
|Asparagus with Lemon and Breadcrumbs|
At the flagship location of The Dutch, each table receives a beautiful, generous loaf of cornbread with whipped butter at the start of the meal. Miami Beach diners don't miss out:
|Cornbread with Whipped Butter|
We didn't have dessert, since we had a gorgeous birthday cake from Epicure waiting up in our room. But the fruit pies are famous, I hear.
Other than the lamb and pork chops, the Miami Beach menu is fairly different from the New York City menu. While I do enjoy the food at the NYC location, perhaps because of the hype surrounding it, the inevitable waits and noise level, and a few bad experiences with receiving offensively old, vinegary wines by the glass, I frankly don't like it nearly as much as I enjoyed The Dutch, Miami Beach. I haven't eaten either the pork chop or lamb in NYC, so I can't do a direct comparison, but it seemed to me that even the food was a notch better in Miami Beach. (Perhaps Chef Andrew Carmellini is still in the kitchen down here, helping this new restaurant find its legs.)
Service was lovely. Partly because it's a hotel restaurant, they were extremely gracious about hosting children of all ages, even at peak hours. The hostess seated our party of three at a four-top with one chair removed to make room for a stroller and gave us the option of parking the stroller in the private dining room if we preferred.
I don't think I could possibly ask for more. A less spendy check would be nice, but given that it's South Beach, I'm just thrilled that for once, deliciousness directly correlates to price.
2201 Collins Ave (inside the W Hotel)
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Food Rating: A+
Baby-Friendly Rating: A
Food Rating: A+
Baby-Friendly Rating: A