Date night was not exactly what it could have been because I pretty much instantly got sick as soon as we got to New York. I, however, would not give up on our dinner plans at Vandaag and boy am I glad I didn’t. It was an incredible and surprising meal. Who knew Dutch food could be such an unexpected medley of familiar and unfamiliar flavors.

First the drink menu, this was insane.

So above is the list of infusions. Mr. Mockingbird had the Horseradish and Dill. I did not try it because of my sickness and fullness by the time he ordered it. If I had been in full form a) it would not have taken me the entire meal to finish my one cocktail and b) I would have totally tried a few of these…Amazing.

Below is the actual cocktail menu. These drinks came out and there was something about them. They looked crisp and clean in their drink specific glassware. There are beer and wine cocktails which, for me, is great to see. I love using wine as a mixer but I’ve rarely seen it out.

Okay, on to the food.

We ordered the bread basket and even in my cold induced haze I managed to sniff out the bacon hard roll. There were also slices of brown bread, a cherry anise bread, a white bread, and some thin buttery crisps. The 2 reviews I read suggested the bread. You have to pay for it but it’s worth it.

We also got the pickle pot (look for a Public House version of this when the menu changes) and the romaine salad. The pickle pot had parsnips, cucumbers, and little baby pears. It was delicious. The romaine came out grilled with a sausage crumble and herring dressing. I couldn’t really taste the herring in the dressing and the sausage seemed like it was from liver or some other part with that kind of texture. Mr. Mockingbird bought some romaine tonight to try to replicate it he liked it so much.

We also got the Bitterballen, Oxtail croquettes. These perfect little round balls came out topped with a dollop of mustard and were resting on a mustard relish and rue. They were like heaven. Perfectly fried which gave the outside a hard battered texture with a soft beefy tasting inside:

Next was our main. Duck for two. This was also recommended by the Immaculate Infatuation guys. I don’t know that I’ve ever had duck better than this. The duck for two came out 3-ways. The confit came out on a little toast and was salty and lovely. The drumsticks had a honey, sweet, crisp flavor and then the rest of the duck was cooked with juniper. The duck came out in a beautiful red casserole dish with dandelion greens and the most delicious roasted potatoes.

Despite the fact we were stuffed, we could not pass up the SMOUTBALLEN. We made some dirty jokes about each others’ moms smoutballen before we heard what it was. Basically it was what you would get if there was a Dutch county fair. Fried pastry/bread stuffed with a hazelnut chocolate mousse sprinkled with powdered sugar and some tiny cubed apples.

This meal was phenomenal. It’s the most creative, outside the box meal I’ve had in a long time. It reminded me how food can be an expression and in the right hands can change your mood, mindset, and thoughts about something as simple as dinner.