Savory Morsels

The Culinary Adventures of a California Girl

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

***September 13, 2006: De Kas***

De Kas
Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3
After all the glowing reviews it received, I decided that De Kas was a good way to start my Amsterdam visit off right. Immediately upon entering the restaurant I knew I had been right. Appearance wise – De Kas is basically my ideal restaurant. It is set just outside of the city (still easy to get to) in a large, well lit, greenhouse. There is actually a garden immediately to your left as you walk in the entrance and the glass walls allow the dinners not only to see out into the beautiful surrounding park but also into the busy kitchen (and I love being able to watch the chef’s as they work)! The atmosphere was lively and trendy in casual way with large wooden tables and people dressed in everything from jeans to suits and ties. There is no way to tell for sure – but I felt like although the scene was great, most of the dinners were there because they appreciated well prepared organic food.

The accepted pace of meals in Amsterdam seems to be slower than in the US. Personally I think this change is great because it allows for more time to relax and really enjoy your food and the company your with. Furthermore, I never felt abandoned by our friendly waitress who quickly delivered our first nibbles of the night just after we sat down - a bowl of olives and a round loaf of bread with a delicious crunchy crust. Overall the bread I had in Amsterdam was all pretty great, but De Kas definitely had one of the best versions (just behind Marius).

The menu is set (although I’m sure alterations can be made) and is most composed of ingredients that the Marius owners grow/raise themselves. We started with a three part first course that was composed of a salmon dish, a shrimp pastry, and a salad. I’m sorry to say that I ate the salad so quickly that I forgot to take a picture of it and cannot remember what it was (maybe something with tomatoes?). However, it was one of my favorite parts of the first course. The salmon was great, very fresh and flakey and well complimented by a little squash puree and a couple sprigs of greens.

The shrimp pastry, on the other hand, was probably my least favorite part of the entire meal. Personally, I’m never a big fan of the tiny shrimps (except in risotto) and in this particular preparation I thought there was far too much puff pastry and the dish ended up tasting bland and slightly soggy.

The main course was a very large piece of steak with a side of sautéed greens, lentils, beets, and chanterelles. The vegetables were the highlight – not too salty, or buttery, or soft. I can be quite finicky with how vegetables are prepared and I usually think that outside of California they are over cooked (blanched is my motto). These vegetables tasted healthy and flavorful and I loved the addition of the filling lentils. There was no question that the steak was expertly cooked and seasoned – but the portion was just so large that I felt slightly overwhelmed and I’ve been spoiled with so much good meat in my life that I wasn’t too excited by the steak. My father on the other hand devoured his entire cut and the waitress seemed concerned that there was food left on my plate – but they both understood by desire to save room for dessert.

And I'm SO happy I did! Dessert put the entire meal on a whole new level. Obviously dinner had been going along just fine; (with the exception of the shrimp tart) I had loved everything I had eaten, would recommend the restaurant to anyone I know, and had no doubt that all the chef’s in the kitchen were highly skilled. There really were no complaints, but at the same time nothing had been too inspiring either. Dessert was a flourless chocolate cake paired with a plum compote and fennel (yes fennel) ice cream. The combination was absolutely phenomenal. The chocolate cake was dark and rich and creamy and it was infinitely brightened by the tangy plum compote (only very lightly sugared and obviously made using perfect fruit) and the interesting fennel ice cream. I’d never had fennel ice cream before, or thought it would be good with chocolate and fruit, but I am definitely going to try this dessert as soon as I get home!


The night ended with some small sweets (I LOVE when restaurants bring these out!), cappuccinos, and happy, full customers. Before leaving I took a quick peak into the kitchen to check out the chef’s table and talk to the waitress about the lunch menu. Next time I’m in Amsterdam I’d love to come back to De Kas during the day so that I can enjoy the food again and get a better chance to enjoy the grounds around this beautiful restaurant!


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