Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eating in the coach house

Nijkerk, June 9, 2009—

THE CAPACIOUS COACH HOUSE next to a modest country mansion outside this central Netherlands town, a few kilometers from Amersfoort, has been fitted out with comfortable chairs and tables, a fireplace with flanking bookshelves and facing sofas, and, best of all, one of the finest kitchens we've run into in the last few weeks. Here we dined last night, after touring the entire restaurant, guided by host-proprietor Erik Bikkers.

Salentein is backed, financially, by the Salentein Family of Wines, based in Mendoza, Argentina — truly globalism has locked in — and Erik greeted us with a glass of sparkling Argentine wine, apologizing that it was only made in the Charmat process. Half Pinot noir and half Chardonnay, nicely yeasty and well balanced, it gave no other cause for apology. We moved then to an Argentine-made sherry, virtually indistinguishable from a Jerez product, with an amuse-geuele of raw herring, two delicious squares cut from the fat centers of the filets.

At the table we settled in to a succession of five courses:
  • Salad: raw strips of veal and tuna, served with bok choy and other greens, with capers on the veal and light sauces on the greens and the tuna;
  • Fish: filets of gurnard and plaice, served with little peas and finely sliced haricots verts, beurre blanc sauce;
  • Meat: baby beef ribeye au jus with potatoes, tomato, and eggplant, bearnaise sauce, with a beef rillette wrap;
  • Cheese: "Lady blue" (Netherlands), alone and in little "sandwiches" on coarse rye bread with apple syrup, with Balsamic vinegar;
  • Dessert: Panna cotta with cherries lightly cooked in a light syrup
    Manzanilla: Bodegas Argueso "San León", nv
    Rosé: Bandol, Domaine Tempier, 2008
    Vin blanc: Sauvignon blanc-Chardonnay, Salentein Reserve, 2006 (?)
    Vin rouge: Malbec, Salentein "Primus," 2004
    Vin blanc doux: Montlouis, François Chidaine, "les Bournais", 2005
    Vin rouge doux: Rivesaulte, 2004

  • Restaurant de Salentein, Puttenstraatweg 7-9, Nijkerk; tel. +31.(0)33.2454114

  • A superb restaurant.

    1 comment:

    George Mattingly said...

    I can see that you're suffering, Charles. "Amuse-guelle," now ça c'est vraiment amusant!