Sometimes it’s the quality, not the quantity, that counts. And every once in a while, a restaurant comes along with a menu that inspires you to order one of each. Welcome to the Noortwyck, a new restaurant by a couple of Eleven Madison Park alums. Nice pedigree, we know. Is it just good on paper, though? We have the review right here.
The Noortwyck came onto the scene this past summer and right out of the gate established itself as a West Village neighborhood staple. It shouldn’t be surprising, because this is not the team’s first rodeo. Chef Andrew Quinn and sommelier Cedric Nicaise cut their teeth at famed Eleven Madison Park. As we’ve seen though, in NYC a good pedigree does not necessarily a good restaurant make. However, these guys really have a shot at achieving long-term success in the competitive NYC restaurant space. There’s clearly a high degree of intelligence that has gone into the Noortwyck. Even the name — a throwback to when the Dutch were running the show in New York — references the historic neighborhood’s name. The Noortwyck is Dutch for North District, back when New York was called New Amsterdam. This thoughtfulness runs through all the key components of the Noortwyck.
In the theme of pragmatic thoughtfulness (which is quite Dutch of them), the decor of the Noortwyck reflects who they want to be. The Noortwyck is an elevated American neighborhood restaurant, where they want you to drop in any night of the week. The dining room has a nice, long bar to grab a bite or drink, and opens to the 70-seat restaurant. The unique color palette creates a welcoming and unassuming-yet-elegant place you want to eat in. Clearly someone with lots of experience in design put together every detail, down to the custom plates. Word is out on the Noortwyck, so on any given night the dining room is full with New Yorkers. It’s not a Casa Cipriani-type scene; instead, the Noortwyck keeps it real.
Let’s cut the small talk. The food is what you would expect from alums from EMP, and that’s bordering on excellent. To be clear though, the food doesn’t combust or entertain you. Rather, you will wonder how a simple kale salad can be so darned delicious. Maybe it’s the step of perfectly toasting the pine nuts and adding in an aged Gouda. Whatever the secret is, it’s an indication that the chefs have major skills that turn the simplest ingredients into magic.
Speaking of which, the ingredients are key. Instead of shipping in fish from Japan (a practice that has its time and place), almost all the ingredients are sourced locally. I’m always a little skeptical when a restaurant charges separately for bread, but in this case I totally get it. From the first bite, you feel the love that made those seeded Parker House rolls. And the butter can be its own course.
Pastas are a highlight. The agnolotti prepared with ingredients of the moment — in this case, squash and sage brown butter — is a must-try. The chicken for two is a house specialty. It’s served with chips cooked crisp three times. The menu at the Noortwyck is food that you will want to eat every day, which is the definition of “neighborhood restaurant.” In this case, the execution is better than what 99.9 percent of us can achieve at home.
Some restaurants have staff that’s clearly dialing it in; they’re in it to make ends meet. Or they’re pursuing another craft, like acting, or writing the next great American novel. I totally support and love that. But you can tell the difference when people are in it for the passion of the restaurant business. The team here knows its stuff, and the service operates like clockwork.
One of the higher ratings I’ve given a restaurant. It’s all about the food at the Noortwyck.
Q: What are the Noortwyck’s hours?
A: The Noortwyck’s hours are as follows:
Saturday – Sunday
11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Monday – Sunday
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Q: Is the Noortwyck good for families?
A: This is not a traditional family restaurant per se. But parents who don’t let their kids dictate the menu should come on the earlier side for dinner or brunch on the weekends. The Noortwyck even has a number of high chairs.
Q: Is there a dress code for the Noortwyck?
A: The theme here is neighborhood restaurant. Unlike EMP, where a number of team members have their pedigree, this is “come as you are.”
The Noortwyck Information
Address: 289 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014