Had a rare sit-down meal out tonight, at the easy-on-the-eyes Restaurant Greetje on the Peperstraat where Raap & Peper used to be.
Here's what I had:
Sauteed black pudding with warm apple sauce.
Roasted half Dutch pheasant with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes, duck sausage, pheasant gravy and duck liver.
Crème brûlée with liquorice and liquorice ice cream.
And, my comments, based on an email conversation about the meal with someone else who was there (who I hope doesn't mind that I've turned our personal conversation into blogfodder, I hereby grant her reciprocal privilege to do the same):
In retrospect, my biggest issue with Greetje was my completely unfounded expectations, and that is hardly the restaurant's fault. I can't say anything was really wrong with my meal, it was all well-prepared and multi-textured, and the service was...interesting, incompetent but very good-natured and occasionally attentive, which is better than average for restaurant waitstaff in Amsterdam. We only had to go look for them once I think (an ordered bottle of wine never showed up...because it was being chilled in the freezer. Now that is home-style cooking)!
My blood pudding was good (did I really just say that?), but I really only got excited about my sauerkraut and my duck sausage, and that's just because, well....crikey, it's sauerkraut and sausage, what's not to like. The sausage was like a mini merguez, spicy and nearly red....and the sauerkraut was baked with potatoes and a breadcrumb crust and cutely presented in a little pot on the side. Very delicious and definitely the most satisfying part of the meal. My pheasant was mostly very tasty, I did get one unpleasant bite that made me realize I'd forgotten what "gamey" tastes like...it reminded me of my cats (not the way they taste, but something about them...either their food or their litter box. Or maybe both. Hurl.)
So, to sum: Greetje was interesting in that it tried (or appeared to try) to focus on a refinement of traditional, regional Dutch cooking, the menu being charmingly specific about historical names and regional slang. The food: artfully presented, but I think a little more salt and pepper and a little more sauce would've really helped measurably in the satisfaction department. "Pleasant" is the word that keeps coming to mind. But based on who knows what, I'd expected something a little more exciting than "pleasant".
Still, I'd recommend it as an introduction to casually elegant Dutch cooking, and perfect for visitors to Amsterdam who are interested in this kind of thing. Plus, importantly, we had a very cozy and relaxed evening in terms of pacing and ambience and general vibe. But I might also take them to a good game-centric eetcafe like Cafe van Beeren to taste the less-refined but more comfort-foody version of rustic Dutch dishes.
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