Dou­ble Dutch

Where Philadelphia - - Contents - BY ADAM ERACE

Dutch cui­sine meets Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch at th­ese top restau­rants.

While Dutch in­flu­ence can be found in Philly, the type of Dutch cui­sine that reigns supreme is Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch—but although the two share a name, they are quite dif­fer­ent. Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch dates back al­most as far as the city’s found­ing, while ac­tual Dutch is fairly new to the scene. Here, get a taste of both.


“The Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch were farm­ers from Ger­many, not Hol­land, and they were not Amish,” ex­plains MacGre­gor Mann, who grew up in ru­ral York County and owns the sea­son­ally driven BYOB Junto just out­side the Philly lim­its in Chadds Ford. “They as­sim­i­lated with the Amish and helped make York, Lan­caster and Berks Coun­ties the bread­bas­kets of early colo­nial suc­cess and growth in Philadel­phia.” At Junto, Mann chan­nels the farm-to-ta­ble his­tory of his fore­fa­thers in an airy bun­ga­low that over­looks an open field. Some­times, Mann recre­ates the clas­sic dishes of his child­hood faith­fully, but more of­ten looks to the recipes for in­spi­ra­tion. “A lot of Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch cook­ing is based on an­cient tech­niques so a lot trans­lates to other peas­ant cuisines. Our corn meal mush is another per­son’s po­lenta. Fermented pit cab­bages and slaws are sim­i­lar to kim­chi.” Mann works uni into spaet­zle; in­fuses chicken jus with birch bark; bulks up cas­soulet with bar­ley; and studs his parsnip cake with candied black wal­nuts. 100 Ridge Rd., Chadds Ford, PA, 484.574.8041 Also try: Dutch Eat­ing Place is an icon at Read­ing Ter­mi­nal Mar­ket, the old­est con­tin­u­ously run in­door mar­ket in the coun­try. It’s a break­fast-and-lunch counter run by Men­non­ites and beloved for its hub­cap-sized pan­cakes, crispy scrap­ple and com­fort­ing chicken pot pies. 51 N. 12th St., 215.922.0425


When Jon­carl Lach­man, a na­tive of South­west Philly, moved back to Philly from Chicago, he brought with him a deep un­der­stand­ing of Dutch cook­ing. That’s fromthe-Nether­lands Dutch, not the Penn­syl­va­nia va­ri­ety.

Now in Philly, he owns No­ord, along with other hotspots. When he re­lo­cated back to Philly, peo­ple were ex­cited about the city’s first real Dutch restau­rant, but very few knew what that culi­nary canon even looked like. “The pil­lars of Dutch cui­sine are root vegeta­bles and dairy, with the dairy of­ten bal­anced out with vine­gars and beer as acids,” Lach­man ex­plains. “The food of the Nether­lands is about com­fort and sus­te­nance.”

Friendly ser­vice and an in­ti­mate set­ting set the tone at No­ord, where the walls are lined with art and win­dows look out on Passyunk’s Singing Foun­tain. The plates that ar­rive from the open kitchen in­clude sta­ples like bit­ter­ballen, fried pork meat­balls scented with nut­meg, smor­re­brod crowned with lush house-smoked fish and boterkoek, a Dutch al­mond but­ter cake filled with al­mond cus­tard, for dessert. 1046 Tasker St., 267.909.9704 Also try: Dutch Dessert is a new food truck typ­i­cally parked by the Ben­jamin Franklin Par­way’s mu­se­ums. A “mo­bile Euro­pean bak­ery,” they serve Dutch treats like suker­bole (sugar bread), zeeuwse bolen (sticky buns) and the amaz­ingly fun-to-say ap­ple­flap­pen (ap­ple frit­ters). 484.436.4000


The charm­ing Pennsport café, The Dutch, is both Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch and Dutch-Dutch. The name is a fit­ting trib­ute to its own­ers, one of which is No­ord’s Jon­carl Lach­man. The other is chef Lee Styer (of the fine French restau­rant, Fond), who is of Penn­syl­va­nia Dutch de­scent. The break­fast-and-lunch menu here is “a com­bi­na­tion of our two cul­tural back­gorunds,” says Lach­man. There’s cream chipped beef and Le­banon bologna omelets, but also poufy Dutch baby pan­cakes and uitsmi­jer, a tra­di­tional open­faed ham-and-egg sand­wich. 1527 S. 4th St., 215.755.5600


The Dutch

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