Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Great Dinner at KW 106

Katwijk Sector Album

We typically try to go out for one nice dinner with everyone while on vacation. This time we went to KW 106, a fish restaurant at the beach in Katwijk. The restaurant was recommended by my mom's friend and it was one for the best dinners we've had in a long time.

The restaurant is one of the fancier "beach cafés" that line the boulevard in Katwijk and server everything from breakfast to dinner. So on a nice day you may find a hubbub of people and families who take a break from the beach to grab a quick snack and a glass of wine on KW 106's patio, while it transforms into a more sophisticated space at night.

The interior is elegant but simple, with a comfortable beach feeling and a great view. The open kitchen is tiny, and there may have been a total of four cooks. I don't think the space would hold any more. Most restaurants in Katwijk offer menus that are translated into German and English, not so KW 106. I thought this was a very good sign, but it completely threw my extended family. They had a hard time ordering when they didn't know every single item that would come with the dish. Dutch is somewhat of a mix of German and English and we all could figure out what needed to be figured out. Nevertheless, ordering took forever.

The menu was small and simple. The restaurant offers a three-course menu with choices for every course for 34.50 euros. I had eyed the half lobster with pink grapefruit dressing as appetizer (I couldn't guess the other ingredients of the dish by trying to decipher the menu) but then decided on the bouillabaisse. It was excellent, with a variety of North Sea shrimp. It took quiet a long time for our food to get to the table, but the soup tasted like it had been made just for me.

I had no trouble choosing my entree. All I really knew is that it was a piece of fish that was prepared with the skin on (op de huid) over rhubarb with beurre blanc. I LOVE rhubarb. Now you may think that rhubarb is out of season, and yes, eating rhubarb in July is stretching it a bit even here, but growing seasons are a little different here.

When my mom inquired what fruit she should get for us to have for the weekend when we first arrived in Essen, I ask for strawberries and blueberries. She said that we may not yet have blueberries and that we might not have strawberries anymore.

I think the fish may have been flounder, but I'm not quiet sure. It was absolutely superb, served on top of a small mound of poached rhubarb with three very small, peeled and perfectly tournéed pieces of steamed potato and a thin slice of crispy bacon topped the dish off.

Eric ordered the red mullet also prepared op de huid with a ragout of peas and mint. The flavor of the sauce that went along with it was slightly bolder than the subtle beurre blanc that accompanied my dish-- both were excellent.

My brother also ordered the red mullet, but not until he confirmed that fries with mayonnaise would be served as the side dish. The waiter laughed and said "of course, this is Holland." Think of it as being a restaurant in Memphis, trying to get away with not serving iced tea. I'm sure the guys at KW 106 despised having to send fries with mayonnaise to every table, but that's what the guests expect and request. The friess here were hand cut, of course.

For dessert we all had espresso that came with a to die for coconut macaroon and a variety of desserts: the chocolate duo, a ultra rich chocolate ice cream and chocolate mousse, coffee Creme Brulee and red berries with yogurt ice cream, which was by far the best.

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