Thursday, July 07, 2011

Amsterdam's BLAUW aan de wal will bring you wondrous food (6-10-11)

This year we start off our European adventures in Amsterdam and had a
superb evening with our dear friends at BLAUW AAN DE WAL, even if the
service got a bit spotty here and there, (Oz. Achterburgwal 99, tel
One approaches this red light district dining spot in a very old
building through a narrow graffiti filled lane and all of a sudden a
small garden appears outside the lower level. We climbed the narrow
curving staircase (be careful coming down if you drink a lot!) to the
roomier top floor that is quite bland with white walls and some silver-
panted bare light bulbs in the wall. A bit of art might be welcome,
but then we did come for the food.
We all were intrigued by the PINOT ROSE BRUT aperitif 2009 from
Winterling in the Pfalz region of Germany as I have rarely had a
cremant that was German, yet bone dry. The sparkling water is the
British Hildon and then came the "bagna cauda" dip of anchovy spread
with crostini, sweet radishes and other tasty veggies. The bread was
simple and the French fleur de sel butter divine.
We moved to a Domaine Corsin Vieilles Vignes 2008 SAINT VERAN Cru de
Bourgogne that was deliciously dry and went superbly with some FIN DE
CLAIRE French Oysters as well as the starter of YELLOWFIN TUNA (raw,
but fresh from Panama) with field greens and an anchovy, egg and caper
spread that was between the tasty thin slices of fish. Green herb oil
was on the plate with artichoke hearts and several tasty fried
anchovies. We had all chosen this dish and was thrilled when it
(finally) arrived as it seemed to take forever. We mentioned he delay
and our sever kind of tried to make excuses. We noticed the table near
us had also complained and got free drinks. We opened our months and
got another bottle of the Saint Veran (40 euros) on the house; we were
placated. I have to admit I found ourselves often pouring the wine and
water, so we have to say the service was indeed a bit lacking.
Our red was a superb yet not too intense Pinot Noir HAUTES-COTES de
BEAUNE "Sous La Muree" 2008 from Domaine Arnoux pere et fils. It was
another perfect pairing wit the Crispy seared DUCK BREAST with Spring
Cabbage in a disc along with Beet Disc and Carrot disc (the veggies
here were super), Potato Puree al in a superb ALBUFERA Sauce that we
could not resist mopping up with the bread. The other main course was
a Filet of BRILL in RIESLING Sauce with Spinach, LOBSTER RAVIOLI and
Green Peas. The ravioli were a bit salty for my tastes, but the dish
overall a winner.

We could not resist cheese and chose one of each of the cheese options
to share amongst the four of us which was a smart move, leaving room
for dessert.
One cheese platter was Fresh Parmigiana with salt crystals, Poached
Pear & Black Pepper which was a flavorful and novel combination. The
other were three cheeses with Fig Chutney:
THIERRY ROBERT which was a creamy rich decadent style and
BLUE d'ECOSSE a medium blue that is rich and creamy as well

The desserts were both superb (each course here has only TWO Choices):
PANNA COTTA with Strawberries, Blueberries and Basil
and a divine NECTARINE CRUMBLE with Creme Suisse and Frozen Yogurt
A glass of FEILER ARTINGER 2009 Beerenauslese from Austria was the
perfect final taste of the night.
We all had a great time and I think we would return for the food, if
not the service.