I like Nicolette van Dam a lot. I follow her on Instagram. I admire her openness and beauty and kindness to everyone which she transmits all the time. I like spending time in Brasserie van Dam in the heart of Amsterdam Old-South. I like its liveliness, its ambience and the pinot noir is not bad at all. The food however turns every time to be a disappointment each time. Nicolette, can you sort it out please?
For the sake of objectivity it should be said that Brasserie van Dam is foremost a meat place. The meats come from the VanDam butchery, a famous spot in Amsterdam Old-South. It dates back to 1962. As I do not eat meat at all, I can’t judge upon the quality and taste of meat myself but trust my mates who say it is fine. The Brasserie offers all sorts of meats: pastrami, steak tartar, beef burger, chicken, veal… A vegan (which I am not) has no options at the Brasserie van Dam. Neither during lunch time no during dinner. A vegetarian who does not eat meat and fish has an option of burrata (€ 9,50) or puffed aubergine (€ 9,50) as a starter and plain basic pasta with tomato sauce (€ 13,50) as the main. Not very exciting ha. A person who does not eat meat and milk but does eat fish (me) has, from the first glance, more options than a vegetarian. So I’ve tried pretty much everything from the category “no meat” including several dishes of the day throughout the past year. I have to state that virtually no dishes in van Dam are free from milk. The fish is mostly cooked in butter, and in a generous amount of it. The vegetarian pumpkin soup has almost white colour due to the crazy amount of cream it contains.
Being afraid of ordering the fish of the day I’ve once ordered the lobster. It was personally suggested by the beautiful Nicolette. Well, it was prepared Caribbean style (which I didn’t know in advance). Caribbean style meant covered in a thick layer of spicy fat coconut sauce. You could not put the horrible sauce aside anymore, and as it was the very last lobster of the day a new one could not be arranged.
Last time when I was at the brasserie and was worried about consuming too little calories (could not make myself swallow the pumpkin soup, was able to scrape out only a tiny amount of fish out of the buttered crust and could not eat even the grilled veggies as they were burned to black), I’ve decided to order my favourite dessert of all the times – the chocolate mousse (€ 6,50). The mousse was of very light colour, rather beige than brown, as it obviously contained very little cacao components. And even my dinner partner who is not that picky could not eat it either.
On the positive side are, firstly, the meat delicacies. Once again, can judge them only by appearance (which is as fine as meet can be) and by the feedback of people who consume them (positive). Secondly, there are haricot verts (€ 3,75) with almond shavings. Personally, I am not a big fun of haricot verts but it was definitely the best side dish from the menu: lots of almonds and the haricot perfectly crispy. Thirdly, once in the summer we had a truffle risotto. Even though quite fatty it was a good risotto (to share is better if you care about saturated fats and all).
If you want to eat healthy, Brasserie van Dam is not exactly the place to be. But for many people health is not the main aspect of eating out. Nevertheless, I hope one day the brasserie will positively surprise me, and I will be able to hang out there as often as I want.
Options for vegetarians: Scarce and not exciting
Specifics: Meat delicatessen are the thing to order
Price category: €€
Address: Cornelis Schuytstraat 8-10 1071 JH Amsterdam