Saturday, December 02, 2006

Restaurant De Kas

De Kas at Night

Over Thanksgiving weekend we decided to take a food tour of Amsterdam. We tried to hit every Michelin starred restaurant in the city or any restaurant that we'd simply heard good things about. We didn't make it to all the Michelin locations, but we did have a wonderful four days in the city of bikes, boots (even the men wear knee high boots with their jeans tucked in) and babies...only Utah has as many kids running around.

For our first dinner we selected De Kas. Our cab deposited us at the edge of a footbridge winding in to a park, and it felt like we were heading into an enchanted forest. We edged our way across a wooden plank bridge toward the glowing glass box in the distance. At night De Kas literally looks like a crystal palace. We stood in the dark positively speechless, gazing at the restaurant that we’d thought about for so many weeks leading up to that moment. We knew the evening would not dissapoint.

Restaurant De Kas

De Kas Entry Way

Upon walking in to De Kas a lush garden lined with herbs and vegetables awaited us. Beyond, a modern dining room held simple tables atop polished concrete floors. An open kitchen, white tiled and seemingly spotless, invited diners to witness the experts at work.

De Kas Garden

The tables were close together like a French cafe, but the wonderful staff had a way of making us feel like we were the only ones in the restaurant; without being over-the-top and phony.

If I was going to give a restaurant as a gift, it would be De Kas. Like the perfect gift, De Kas may be beautiful to look at, but it is the meaning behind it that makes it really special. De Kas does not have a list of selections to choose from, but rather, a daily 5-course tasting menu that is dependant on what they've harvested that day from the garden. For 44.50 euros per person (wine extra), we almost felt guilty, like we were pulling one over on them. (For 125 euros per person you can take the experience one step further by dining at the chef's table in the kitchen, where the kitchen staff are said to present all kinds of hidden treasures.)

Here is how our gift was unwrapped...

Cod on Braised Fennel with Apple and Violets

The server quickly warned us that these were special violets, and not to go "trying this at home" a.k.a eating random violets in the woods. The dish was very delicate, and J loved how the fennel and apple played off each other. I loved nibbling on the violets; it felt so rebellious.

Sea Bass
Seared Sea Bass with Pink Grapefruit and Mayonnaise Potatoes

We both loved the way the pink grapefruit offered a subtle and exotic sweetness to the fish. The mayonnaise potatoes were a little reminscent of a Fourth of July picnic, but without the Bottle Rockets.

Spinach and Jerusalem Artichoke with Quail Egg and Crostini

The soft sweetness of the egg complemented the slight tang of the artichoke, creating a dish that reminded me for some reason of a lazy summer night.

Duck Confit
Duck Confit, Potato Puree with Parsley

The duck was succulent and practically fell off the bone. The skin was pan seared and beautifully crispy. The jus was so tasty J wanted to lick it right off his plate.

Port and Cheese
Port Wine with the Cheese Platter

I died and went to heaven (although it was so hedonistic, I felt like I was going straight to hell) with this decadent course of cheese from Amsterdam and England. I simply cannot recall exactly what they were (the port added to the memory loss) but our resolution for 2007 will be to better remember the specifics of the cheese we enjoy.

Walnut Milkshake served with Apple Crisp with Walnut Ice Cream

Seriously, how cool is the little walnut milkshake? J found the apple crisp to be as close to fall as walking on crisp leaves.

It is not that other restaurants don't taste fresh, but De Kas was just so fresh tasting that it blew our minds. It is a perfect example of slow food and sustainable farming. This is what happens when you combine the creativity of talented chefs with the purity of a farm.

Whether a trip to Amsterdam is on your list or not, you simply must check out their web site and read up on this beautiful concept. The black and white photos online do not do the restaurant justice, but in a way, that is part of the gift; you get to arrive at De Kas for your meal and be wowed by its breathtaking presence in person.

- K

Restaurant De Kas
Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3
1097 DE Amsterdam
T +31 (0)20 462 45 62
F +31 (0)20 462 45 63


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