In keeping with tradition, I booked some Michelin-star restaurants during my 2017 European vacation. The first was Restaurant Bord’Eau in Amsterdam.
Shellfish bisque with tandoori
Dutch mussel with lemongrass jus and dill-calamansi crème
Salad of North sea crab with lime and smoked avocado
Razor clam with “soffritto,” Pernod jelly and clementine
Marinière jus of cockels with a liaison of Waddenzee oyster
I like my dinner at 5:30 or 6:00. But the first seating of the evening was at 6:30, so I took that time slot and enjoyed the undivided attention of the staff and a quiet restaurant for a half hour.
Veal tartare with potato “os a moelle,” smoked herring and Kaluga caviar
Coquille St. Jacques with molasses of seaweed and Conference pear
Langoustine poached in duck fat with “katsuobushi Albufeira” and coffee
Local “Oosterschelde” seabass steamed and raw, with lime broth with passionfruit
Venison roasted in Lardo di Colonnata, sage and puttanesca of Physalis
And enjoy I did. I occupied (what may have been) the best seat in the house: a clear view of the other diners and the entrance, by a window overlooking the canal, my back against the wall.
One of my favorite parts of traveling solo is distraction-less immersion in the entire experience, which delighted my inner child from beginning to end. Unexpected crunch in a pudding-like appetizer, green mermaid scales that turned out to be expertly sliced avocado, a near-colorless consommé bursting with complex flavor, a glass-like sugar “apple” with an apple sorbet “core” and tiny chocolate “seeds,” an unassuming ice ball that cracked open to reveal a sweet foam.
Green apple with caramel and walnut
Consommé of cherry and frozen foam of elderflower
The staff were sophisticated, well spoken, charming and funny. The wine came in generous pours. Three hours later, I walked the scenic route back to my Airbnb alone because central Amsterdam is just that safe.
The verdict: It’s a shame that Restaurant Bord’Eau has only one Michelin star. It deserves two.