Front Runners May 2015: Dutch Master

For even the most devoted epicures, Dutch cuisine largely remains a mystery. Rijks (rijksrestaurant.nl), an elegant new restaurant attached to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, has been designed to showcase the Netherlands’ most stellar ingredients, from the crisp oysters of Zeeland accented with edik, a mild Dutch vinegar, to a dessert of Dutch farmhouse–gouda custard with grapes, walnuts, and wild rice. Rijks’s bar serves only Dutch spirits, while its 40-bottle wine list is also Dutch, with many selections from the Limburg region, not far from Germany’s Mosel. 

On executive chef Joris Bijdendijk’s menu, traditional Dutch flavors ricochet in contemporary dishes. Zuurvlees, a homey beef stew, for example, becomes a composition of tender beef cheeks, turnip puree, horseradish, and mustard seeds. “It fits with the whole idea of Rijksmuseum,” says Loek Beeren, the general manager. “Dutch food is also serious art, influenced by countries around the world.” 

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