Dutch Fred’s is going to be my new regular hang out. I’ve been living in Hells Kitchen for about three years now. I knew when I moved into the city it was the neighborhood I always wanted to live in. My family grew up on the upper east side. They rarely ventured to the west side. I was told that Hells kitchen was dangerous back in the day. That the Irish gang, “The Westies” ran things. I never knew how the neighborhood got it’s name until the restaurant explained who Dutch Fred was. Turns out he was a police officer during the 19th century. He and his partner were patrolling West 39th Street near 10th Avenue when they came across a riot. Fred’s partner said, “This is hell itself.” Dutch Fred replied, “Hell is a milder climate, This is Hell’s Kitchen.” Pretty cool to know its origin now.
Dutch Fred’s opened up four months ago. In this hood places open and close like hot cakes. Not this place. This is going to be a staple for many years to come. It has the city vibe, great food and the most delightful crew.
My friend Stephanie came in from Long Beach for the day. It was a work night so we made an early reservation for 5:30pm. You can’t miss it. It’s on 47th between 8th and 9th. Closer to 8th ave.
I’m not sure why but I love the simple “Bar” sign above the restaurant. I want one of those in my house.
I’ve always felt like an old soul. Which is why I gravitate to old classic cocktails. How beautiful is the reflection in this window?
Here’s a look at the inside.
On the wall next to us was this old school wood paneling. We all looked at each other and agreed it reminded us of our Grandmas houses. That gave us an instant warm feeling.
From the ceiling, to the walls, to the floor, there is so much detail in the decor at Dutch Fred’s.
Throughout the restaurant they have old black and white pictures playing. It’s a nice break from staring at ESPN at other pubs.
First things first, the cocktail menu. They have an array of old fashioned drinks named after Broadway shows.
Here is the Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Brockmans Gin, blackberry puree, lemon and champagne), a prosecco and the Kinky Boots (Tito’s, St. Germain, Lemon and raspberries.) That is Shane, shaking it up in the background. He was so welcoming. He also had the best handshake I’ve ever encountered. You can tell a lot about a person from their handshake.
Next up was the food. We ordered a few appetizers. I’m so regretful that I didn’t get the everything pretzel. Next time.
These eggplant chips were dare I say, Orgasmic. Imagine everything you love about a salty potato chip. Now imagine it with the hint of eggplant and the sweetness of clover honey. We literally didn’t speak for a few minutes as we marveled at how good they were. Anyone that cooks eggplant knows how hard it is to keep the eggplant from getting mushy. Turns out they batter it in potato flour. Like the instant potato powder. Genius.
Next we had some deviled eggs. Not your average boring deviled egg. This was a deviled egg on crack. A creamy melt in your mouth deviled egg topped with jalapeño and radish on top of curried toast.
Next up some sesame seared ahi tuna. It was sliced tuna and avocado over seaweed salad with teriyaki and wasabi drizzle, mache salad and sesame orange dressing. Mache looks like clovers but it’s a green lettuce. They mixed it with sliced apples.
We met the manager Renee. She was the sweetest. Once we told her we were from the neighborhood she was elated to have us in. She ran a coffee bar for 16 years and knows the city like the back of her hand. We wished she could join us for a drink. Awesome woman. She told us we had to try this special salad. It had tomato, avocado, fennel and olives. It did not disappoint.
It is Moscow mule season, so I wanted to see how Dutch Fred’s mule was. Cooper cup and crushed ice, NAILED IT.
We just couldn’t stop eating. Lastly we got a grilled flat bread. Just like they don’t take short cuts with their mule they don’t with the pizza. They don’t just make it on a piece of pita bread. It was the thinnest dough I’ve ever had and jammed packed with goat cheese, pepperoni, tomato and jalapeño. The edges were crispy and buttery from the melted cheese. I could have eaten the whole thing myself. I didn’t feel as guilty after since I wasn’t eating a huge piece of dry crust like you typically get with NY pizza.
Dutch Fred’s exceeded our expectations. We’ll be regulars soon enough. Here’s a glance at their beautiful 47th street block.
Next time you are going to a broadway show make Dutch Fred’s your stop for dinner before or a cocktail after.