The Dutch

My Dining Partner (MDP) and I are doing a new thing where we eat dinner at home on Saturday nights and go out for brunch on Sunday mornings. It’s working well, as I love to cook, and now have the opportunity to get brunch at all the restaurants I’ve been dying to try.

This morning, we went to The Dutch down on Sullivan and Prince streets. I had been aiming to visit The Dutch for their dinner menu sometime, but a coworker recommended the brunch, thus our trek down to SoHo at 9 am.

the dutch omelette

omelette

We had a reservation for 10, and the hostess kindly sat us at one of the nicest tables in the restaurant. With loads of sunlight pouring in through the windows that form two of The Dutch’s walls, the setting was both vibrant and serene. The low bustling of patrons formed a quiet din, and the perfect, color-accurate light made even the wood banquet I sat upon come to life. I encourage you to try The Dutch in the morning to experience this glorious atmosphere.

To start, we ordered a maple potato doughnut (though they spell it as “donut,” a la Dunkin Donuts, on their menu) that was served warm and gooey. This doughnut is nothing like the offerings of Dunkin Donuts, however. It was lemony and had a dense, cake-like bite. MDP and I polished off the plate in no time.

For my entree, I ordered the omelette filled with crisp asparagus, ramps, creamy goat cheese and oyster mushrooms. I have never seen such a perfect omelette in my life. The texture was borderline silky and the inside was eggy and delicious. Rife with fillings, the thin, streamlined exterior of the omelette belied the hearty, delectable innards. I was in love. And the omelette came with a nice little salad with leafy greens and sliced radishes strewn throughout. Yum!

the dutch hot fried chicken

hot fried chicken

So enchanted by the appearance of fried chicken on any menu, MDP opted for the hot fried chicken with honey butter biscuits. I was told that the biscuits were a central pillar of The Dutch brunch experience, so I was certain to ask the waiter how many came with MDP’s chicken dish. Two, he said, which is the best and most delicious response he could have possibly uttered. Drenched in sweet honey, the biscuits were out of this world. So buttery, so fluffy, I could have easily eaten two on my own. The chicken’s fry batter was heavily peppered and spicy for a nice flavor. The chicken itself was tender and perfectly cooked. On the side, they added a small dish of coleslaw, which incorporated red onion and parsley to create a coleslaw unlike any I’ve ever tried–that is, a very good one (though MDP wasn’t a fan).

I highly recommend The Dutch for brunch. And their dinner menu looks stellar, but do make a reservation. The Dutch is definitely hip, and you may have trouble obtaining a table as a walk-in.

The Dutch

131 Sullivan Street (at Prince Street)

SoHo, New York

Take the N/R to Prince Street. Walk west a few blocks to Sullivan. Enter on Sullivan Street.

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MoonShine Modern Supper Club (Millburn, NJ)

So, what the heck was I doing in Millburn, NJ, you ask? Well, my mother lives in a nearby town and I wanted to take her somewhere nice for her birthday. She had seen MoonShine Modern Supper Club on TV at one point, and chose it for our outing.

moonshine modern supper club biscuit

biscuit & sausage gravy

I’m not quite sure what constitutes a “modern supper club” and MoonShine’s website doesn’t exactly illuminate the matter, but they do have a reasonable description of their approach: “Opened in November 2011, MoonShine Modern Supper Club presents Contemporary American cooking executed with style, finesse, and an updated comfort-food sensibility.” Yes, yes and yes. MoonShine certainly achieves all aspects of their description.

Thinking the place would be packed at brunch (they were on TV, after all), I made a reservation for noon on what would be a rainy Saturday. When we walked in early, we were the only guests in the whole restaurant. I guess New Jersey people don’t “do” brunch.

MoonShine graciously offers a nice prix fixe brunch menu, with a handful of salads and other types of dishes for appetizers, and delicious options, such as croque monsieur, chicken paillard and salmon, for entrees. We ordered coffee and took in the menu.

moonshine modern supper club omelette

omelette with goat cheese & tomatoes

The extremely accommodating waiter made small talk with us, about the weather and other topics, and brought us three banana muffins, which were exquisite.

For my brunch, I ordered the biscuit with sausage gravy and the omelette with goat cheese and roasted tomatoes. My mother also opted for the biscuit dish, but decided to try the MoonShine burger, which is topped with cheddar and Applewood bacon.

The biscuit appetizer was amazing. I couldn’t get over how delicious the sausage gravy was. MoonShine clearly uses top-notch ingredients, as the sausage had a distinct flavor of fennel and it was evident that it was high quality meat. The biscuit itself was pretty standard, not made with lots o’ lard like Bubby’s, but definitely solid. My mother and I both polished off our plates and felt quite sated following the biscuit course.

moonshine modern supper club burger

burger

Then, the entrees came out. And I’ll tell you, the burger is the entree to get at MoonShine. So do go there for brunch! Because I had eaten a burger last night, I couldn’t order the burger, something I rather regret now. It was, in a word, heavenly. Extremely juicy, the patty had flavors of sirloin, as my mother pointed out, and was cooked to a perfect “medium” level of doneness. The whole package–the bacon, the cheddar, the patty, the bun–made the burger one of the best I’ve ever had. Really. It was that good. And the shoestring fries that accompanied the burger were outstanding–lightly salted, crisp and flavorful. You can’t beat that dish.

As for my omelette, well, it was just okay. I didn’t sense the tomatoes were roasted, but merely diced and tossed into the omelette, disappointing. The egg itself was slightly overcooked, and I ended up only eating about half of it.

I highly recommend MoonShine Supper Club for brunch. It’s pretty easy to get to Millburn from New York. Just take the NJ Transit train to Millburn and walk a few blocks to get to MoonShine. I’d trek a hundred miles for that burger. You might, too. And Millburn has a beautiful downtown area to perambulate, and an adorable park just across the street from the restaurant. Go sometime. You won’t regret it.

MoonShine Modern Supper Club

55 Main Street

Millburn, NJ

Di Fiore Marquet, Union Square

It sounds like I’m the only one in the universe who didn’t care for Di Fiore Marquet. Yelp has rave reviews, as does New York. What am I missing?

Perhaps the dishes we ordered weren’t their specialty. Then again, shouldn’t the chef be able to competently cook any menu item? I think so.

di fiore marquet omelette

avocado and cheddar omelette

In the mood for eggs, I decided I wanted an omelette with avocado and cheddar cheese. Seems like a reasonable request for brunch, right? Well, the omelette was fine until I discovered, on its underside, that it was runny and barely cooked. In the past month or so, I’ve tried to open my mind to runny-egg dishes, such as Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine. I’m still in the early stages of accepting these foods, so seeing runny eggs in my omelette positively disgusted me. The omelette was accompanied by some toast and roasted potatoes, which were hard and not exactly flavorful.

My dining partner ordered corn pancakes. He’s always trying the new (or weird) things on menus, something that I admire (especially since he always lets me taste his exotic food). Chopped fruit adorned the corn pancakes, a nice touch. When asked what the corn pancakes tasted like, MDP replied, “They tasted like corn.” There you have it.

I ordered a cappuccino, which was delicious and perfectly made. But it took about 10 minutes to get my coffee drink. In other words, the service is slow. I wouldn’t recommend this place if you are in a hurry to catch the big sales at Filene’s Basement.

di fiore corn pancakes

corn pancakes

If you’re in Union Square, you might want to try a different place for brunch. I hear Max Brenner has an outstanding menu. Or, if you’re daring, you could even walk up to the Shake Shack and have a late brunch/lunch instead. In other words, there is a multitude of brunch places for you to try in Manhattan. You might skip Di Fiore Marquet, in that case.

Di Fiore Marquet

15 East 12th Street

New York, NY

Take the 4/5/6 or N/R/Q to Union Square.