Sunday, January 27, 2013

Starting January the Right Way with Dutch and Company

On the first day it snowed in 2013 we thanked the goddesses that the month before we experienced balmy spring-like weather and that the roads were clear. Hubby and I had discussed when we could try Dutch and Company. All of RVA had been waiting for it to open. We knew the place would be rocking. On the first day it snowed in 2013 we arrived at 5:15 PM.

D&C Approach
Dutch and Company in Church Hill
A couple of tables were already settled in. The decor featured cozy lighting with a number of mirrors along the wall to project warmth. I liked the little "Dutch" touches: a bouquet of tulips in a colorful pitcher, reproductions of stamps from the Netherlands to mark the bathroom entrances, and vintage prints of Holland scenes.

Dutch and Company Interior
The mirrors are a nice touch
The Gents
A few folks were at the bar. We wanted to sit at the bar and converse and observe/admire Michelle, our all-time favorite bartender. She's thoughtful, quiet, and meticulous; and Michelle can make a myriad of awesome libations. We ended up with a Sunday Paper and Honest to Goodness.

Sunday Paper
Sunday Paper:  Chartreuse rinse,  Wild Turkey Rye, Hennesey VS Cognac, gomme syrup (simple syrup made from gum arabic),  Fee Brothers old fashioned bitters, lemon twist
Honest to Goodness
Honest to Goodness: Hendricks Gin, cucumber ginger ice cubes, Angostura bitters, tonic water 
As we enjoyed our cocktails and perused the menu, Michelle pointed out the "Jib" board - a blackboard containing the evenings snacks at $5 each. These snacks can change daily. Our board boasted the likes of smoked salmon rillette, chicken liver terrine, and Anderson Neck oysters. The menu features seasonal items and can change frequently. Of course, everything should be delicious since Caleb is in the kitchen. While we are not familiar with Phillip, I'm sure he is top-notch, as well and we probably enjoyed many of his dishes at his former place of employment (Acacia). We discovered the prix-fixe for $28: choose any appetizer, any entree, and any dessert. The prix-fixe is available every evening, all evening. A wonderful value and we took advantage of it.

The wine list is small, but offers a variety with some off-beat selections as well. We chose a Chatter Creek Nebbiolo from Washington State. An unusual grape variety for the region, but smooth and satisfying. The other great thing about the wine was the service. While most restaurants in RVA do not replenish the wine as the evening goes on, Dutch and Company did. I highly value the service (which should be an expectation, not an anomaly). While wine by the bottle may not be the usual order for most tables, if Richmond really wants to be on the national food map, service needs to be stepped up a notch. Kudos to Dutch and Company for its attention to detail.

Chatter Creek Nebbiolo
Chatter Creek Nebbiolo with a glass cap
For dinner we started with the Pork and Squash Rillette and the Malted Barley Porridge.

Pork and Winter Squash Rillette
A divine start to the evening: Pork and Winter Squash Rillette with Honey Roasted Pecans, Pickled Squash, and Pig Skin Cornbread. While pork rillette tends to be extremely rich, the squash toned down the richness while adding to the flavor. 
Malted Barley Porridge with Smoked Mushrooms and Roasted Pears
Malted Barley Porridge with Smoked Maitake Mushrooms, Roasted Pear,  Kale, and Almond Cream.  Probably the only porridge dish in RVA. Lots of textures and flavors that evoke a cozy winter evening.
For the entree we both delighted in the Hangar Steak.

Hangar Steak with Bone Marrow Potato
Hangar Steak (medium rare) with Bone Marrow Twice-Baked Potato, Bitter Greens, and Herb Sauce. A wonderful dish. The marrow added an enormous amount of richness to the potato. The Herb Sauce was fresh and packed with garlic.
For dessert hubby opted for the Winter's Honey Pot and I enjoyed the Stroopwafel.

Winter Honey Pot
Winter's Honey Pot: Warm Milk and Honey, Pound Cake, Lavender Ice Cream, Citrus, and Candied Nuts. Dutch and Company secured a number of vintage honey pots for presentation. We lucked out with our Winnie the Pooh pot. A creative and delicious concoction.
Stroopwafel with Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream
Stroopwafel with Caramel and Vanilla Ice Cream. Stroopwafel is a Dutch treat.. Two wafer-like cookies with caremel sandwiched in between. A simple, yet satisfying dessert.
We ended with coffee for hubby and Strega for me. It would be difficult not to indulge in one of the numerous Amari that Dutch and Company offers. As I began to sip my digestif we noticed that the dining room was packed and folks were standing at the bar with drinks, waiting for a table. Earlier in the evening Michelle had pointed out the "Champagne Room." A cozy little spot with end table, lamp, a couple of chairs. This spot is the "lounge" outside of the bathrooms. With all of the new patrons coming in, we moved our after dinner beverages to this quiet area to relax and watch diners enjoying their evening.

Bar Coffee
Coffee at the bar
As we left we walked by the big storefront window featuring the kitchen to appreciate the art and craftsmanship of providing delicious food. The only thing that could be improved upon is if there were a huge picture window between the dining room and the kitchen for diners to admire the workings of the kitchen. Of course, then we would be torn as to where to sit. At the bar to watch cocktails being crafted or at a table to see meals being prepared.

The Kitchen at Work
Kitchen scene
Chef Caleb
We had a lovely experience. I wish Dutch and Company much success. I look forward to enjoying more great food and beverages in the very near future.

Dutch and Company