Restaurant Review: Burgermeester in Amsterdam

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Cuisine
Tags: , , , ,

Original New York Times article here

By SOMINI SENGUPTA

The walls of all three branches of this Amsterdam mini-chain are lined with portraits of cows. In the black-and-white photographs, some lie in repose with their ilk. Others stand solo. One stares directly at the camera, looking unperturbed by the flies on its face. Said Justus de Nijs, one of Burgermeester’s three owners, with characteristic Dutch candor: “Here are the cows. Have a nice burger.”

He confirmed that these cows actually supplied the beef for burgers served at the restaurants, though these particular creatures were probably butchered shortly after Burgermeester opened its doors in 2007. Talk about getting to know your food.

The idea, Mr. de Nijs said, sprang from the simple desire for a good burger, a rarity in Amsterdam, as in many European capitals. The beef comes from Blonde d’Aquitaine cattle, a French breed, although these cows are born and bred in the Netherlands — “Dutch citizens,” as Mr. de Nijs put it; his compatriots are these days are concerned about issues of immigration and citizenship.

Though the menu changes seasonally, and there is a specialty burger of the month, there is always a basic beef burger, as well as more luxurious avatars — one with truffle, egg and pancetta; a tuna burger made with American albacore; and two varieties of lamb burgers, including one with chorizo and jalapeños. The veggie burger on the winter menu is made with red lentils. (Mr. de Nijs is still tinkering with the spring menu.)

Sides include corn on the cob and arugula salad; in the chain’s most iconoclastic gesture, there are no French fries. Mr. de Nijs believes that they would make the restaurants smell like a greasy spoon.

In a country where bread is served with every meal, I was delighted to be able to order a burger on a pretty heap of salad greens, with cherry tomatoes on the side and — this being the Netherlands — a swirl of mayonnaise on top. (Note to Dutch cooks: mayonnaise is not adult food.) My 2-year-old daughter pilfered my cherry tomatoes and most of my husband’s tuna burger and refused to share her pint-size glass of purple forest berry milkshake. She briefly glanced at the cows on the wall and said, “Moo.”

It seemed an apt tribute to Mr. de Nijs’s emphasis on transparency. “You would be a hypocrite,” Mr. de Nijs said, “to say you’re not eating cow if you’re eating cow.”

Burgermeester (burgermeester.eu) has three locations: Albert Kuypstraat 48, Elandsgracht 130 and Plantage Kerklaan 37. Lunch for two (plus a grazing toddler) is about 30 euros, or just under $40 at $1.32 to the euro.

 

Advertisements
Comments
  1. lapsus linguae says:

    No way I’m paying 30 eur for a couple of burgers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s