Andrew Carmellini Named His Restaurant the Dutch Because It Sounded Cool: Interview Part 2


Yesterday we spoke with chef Andrew Carmellini about his new cookbook, American Flavor, and about the pain of pouring boiling-hot veal stock over one’s foot. Today he tells us about expanding the Dutch to Miami and shares his thoughts on food trends.

So where does the name the Dutch come from?

The name was a little bit risky because it doesn’t really reference anything in terms of what the restaurant is. I’d signed the lease, and I wanted to do this American thing. I had a list of 400 names. I didn’t want to name it after a farm or a type of heirloom raspberry. It sounded cool, to tell the truth — “I’ll go have brunch at the Dutch, dinner at the Dutch.” The musicality of the word just sounded cool to me. And the name kept coming up on the list and in references to what was Soho was before. There were gangster references, and we were making Dutch baby pancakes while recipe-testing for the book.

You’ve re-created the Dutch in Miami. How’s that going?

We’re open now. The menu is similar in its layout. On the menu [of the Dutch in New York], you have a Sesame Street-like graphic of a lamppost. It was one of the first images looking out the windows, and Sullivan Street has a Sesame Street feel. I had the same artist draw the image [on the menus at the Dutch in Miami], but as a palm tree. It’s the same sense of place, but here [in Miami]. Some of the dishes are the same and there are some new ones on the menu we did for down here. My family is from Miami, so if I were to do something outside of New York, it would be here. We just got our first shipment of local, organic tomatoes and zucchini and eggplant. We’re getting great watercress, so it’s like opposite seasons. In New York, it’s Brussels sprouts and game.

The Dutch was one of the most hyped restaurants of the year. How do the two cities compare in that regard?

It’s very different. When we opened the Dutch for brunch in New York, we had 100 people [waiting] on line. Before we opened, we did a thing in the Times saying we’re going to open, and did a small video, but that was it. … What I wanted to do here was not have the typical South Beach restaurant. Something a little bit more casual and less expensive. I wanted the same vibe but the restaurant doesn’t look the same. It’s white and beachy, and it feels like a beach house.

How do you split your time among all the restaurants?

I take an intensive approach to the launches. I went back to New York this weekend and will be back for a few days next week. I’m here [in Miami] on average about two months a year. It’s a little different because we own this business and it’s not a licensing thing. We have some of our New York team down here. But we’re going to do the Fresh Eggs thing at the Dutch, and I’m excited because I just got a pasta extruder at Locanda.

Finally, what do you see as the next big food trends?

I’m always anti-trend and predicting those things. It’s wild that the business latches on to them. Like meatballs — it wasn’t anywhere and then some people started to do it and now people open up restaurants devoted to meatballs even though they’ve been around forever. Now you go to Tallahassee and see pork buns on the menu. As much fun as I’m having with the Italian and American thing, I’d love to see people discover regional French cooking again. Nothing’s better than those classic dishes done well. As for other trends, um, Tasmanian cuisine?