Dutch Ale House – November 2018 (dt)
6.52 - 7.1, 7, 6.5, 6.5, 6, 6

After a one-of-a-kind pre-session, the Notar car led the procession southward on Rt 32, threatening to stop at El Rancho, and continued into the heart of Saugerties before finding on-street parking close to Dutch Ale House.

The menu is short, apparently transitioning from the former burger-strong menu to a modestly adventuresome menu with several worthy entrée choices. In addition to the list below, other options included eight appetizers, several salads, and entrées including s BLT, several more burgers, pan roasted chicken, pastrami beef ribs, and hot smoked salmon.

Our choices this evening:

Having nibbled at the Notars earlier, the appetizer course snared few of us. None of the entrées came with salad/soup. But…
The special Tomato & White Bean soup with grilled peppers attracted Deb T and Joyce and deemed excellent. They sat on the end, so as the server balanced the tray, strolling past us other four, our heads bent toward the aroma wafting from the bowls. A bigger portion could have been a worthy dinner for me.

No one complained aloud about the absence of a bread basket or other similar filler. If it had not been for our earlier stop at the Notars, I think there would have been more than the internal grumbling I heard about later.

The orated dessert list was three items long but, since one of the specials still listed on the street board outside had long since been sold out, we were left with two. With the assurance that the apple pie came from the bakery across the street, Don ordered a slice of pie: (delicious, with a flaky think crust; Charlene still wins!).
And the other men had white Sambuca, after a brief negotiation with server Lindsay who thought DAH did not have such a thing, and after listening to the mutterings of disbelief from the twosome, she checked, and squeezed out the bottom inch of a bottle found somewhere. A sparse portion for $8 each.

The drink order consisted of three beers, a bottle of red for three, and water. The beer first ordered was announced not in stock after the fact. And the wine ordered suffered the same fate. Lindsay brought a “comparable” bottle, an Eden Valley pinot noir, and had the good sense to tell us and to verify if the choice was acceptable.

The bill came to $82 per couple, including tax, liquor, and tip.

Service by Lindsay was pleasant, adequate, attentive, halting, and mostly good. It was a mix but no glaring shortcomings. The entrées came out at the 75 minute mark, a bit tedious. And waiting to get the check took long enough to almost eat again. Still, it was a satisfactory job.

Ambiance is fun and “laid back.” Following is part of a review from a local paper upon DAH’s opening earlier this year (full review content available on DAH web site):

“The Dutch had one problem though. While the Prohibition-era tavern side with its antique bar and dimmed lighting oozed character, the dining room was an eyesore. One of the previous owners had expanded into the next door space, previously a t-shirt shop, which lacked the historic appeal of the tavern. “It had bad gym floors, bright lighting, church pews and wooden tables, drywall full of holes with no art up,…
…Historic retrofit”
They closed on February 6, 2018 and renovated over the next month and a half, keeping the tavern side open as much as possible throughout. After replacing the “guts of the place”—the plumbing, electric, coolers, and beer lines—the couple focused on elevating and integrating the dining room. They created a nine-foot opening between the spaces, took down the plaster to reveal original brick walls, removed all the branded beer signs, and installed oak flooring to match the tavern. “We extended the bar and wrapped around into the new side, so now it’s U-shaped,” Ted says. “It really ties the two spaces together. We also built all new booths, tables, banquets all to match the other side so it really flows.” They even painstakingly sourced antique pendant lamps and brass foot rails to match the bar side. Between the two spaces, the Dutch can now fit up to 82 guests.”

The two-side plan is obvious when one is twenty feet inside the one front door available. (The dining room glass door has a sign to use the other door. Even with an arrow, a few persistent customers insisted on the locked door, an amusement for those on the inside looking out.)
            Upon entry, we saw the room that was the former business space some of us had seen years ago. With a few more steps, the opening led to the attractive dining area. The white tin ceiling, not mentioned in the review, added another layer of wow to the room. Sided globes hang distinctively and was the lighting for most of the room, not quite enough to read the menu for some of us. Three 2x2 tables were pushed together, with three of us sitting on the comfortable leather-ish banquette seating, and the other three on the opposite chairs. Country linen held a knife and fork set to accompany the five inch, narrow water glasses, with pitchers eventually set on the table. And art work lined the brick wall, eye level, with Deb’s approval.
            We sat within ten feet of the faux entry, with two tables set on the sides of the glass enclosed lobby, a good spot to watch the pedestrian and motor traffic. On the other side of us was the U-shaped bar, a screen for each room that played football or the Simpsons this evening. Background music oozed through the light clatter, not particularly noticeable until the fifteen minute lull between “seatings” made it more prominent. A group of about ten came in just before nine (kitchen closing time).

Out we went, having spent two hours with pleasant company on a pleasant evening in Saugerties, without any subs this evening (last minute cancellation). The half-foot of a mid-November snowstorm a few days ago had compacted into an inch or two, leaving a scenic winter-looking drive—beautiful, unless one is bothered by winter seemingly starting way too early.

We enjoyed an infrequent pre-session, this one at the Notarnicola domicile. They confessed to buying too much beer this past week and needed to share. Mark poured into smaller glasses a tasting portion from the several beers of their eighteen brewery tour in Vermont, with an emphasis on IPA. Quite enjoyable. And Joyce had prepared a plate of three cheeses and a cured meat, along with a Triscuit basket to cleanse the palate, influencing our dining choices at DAH. Thank you, Notars.
            Topics of discussion—at the Notar house, in the care, at the restaurant—included: the Karneses’ trip to Turks and Caicos, Deb riding horses in the surf, anti-saddle-chafing wear-or not, elderly (Deb K) discrimination, a near flood on the Karneses’ last day-driving through higher-than-safe water, deer season, turkeys, the Notar 18 brewery tour, IPA differences, Deb T and Monet, new cat Theo, negative reaction from Jackson, Clem in Puerto Vallarta, Clem returning to Florida, airline flight delays, whereabouts of the Adamses and Monteverds, whereabouts of our subs, illness causing the cancellation of subs this evening, Deb’s Mom, Cairo-Durham politics and superintendent, Joyce’s Shutterfly book of their Italy trip and cruise, house-flipping and Mark’s new venture, Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, a bunch of soon-to-be 60 years olds, Black & Blue celebration, Deb T the second oldest at the table, deer along the roadside in the dark, a rear-ender to the Teator car this past week, insurance companies, breakfast sandwiches, apple picking, DP8 Christmas entrée decision, feminine pressure to pass a truck with the Karnes car behind, and a few other topics that have melted into the November grayness, of which there has been more than enough.