Restaurant review: In de Keuken (Amsterdam)

As you might imagine, whenever we travel I like to seek out adventurous local restaurants.  Sometimes I use the Michelin guide to pick out prestigious spots, but when we have friends who live in the destination town, their advice always takes precedence.  So last weekend when we visited Amsterdam, we took a friend’s advice and went to In de Keuken.

On our friend Maria‘s great advice, we had dinner at In de Keuken in Amsterdam last weekend.  It was phenomenal.  If you like fun food and have little or no dietary restrictions, you should make it your #1 food priority in Amsterdam.
The restaurant is tiny: maybe 10 tables or so, mostly two-tops with a couple of four-tops.  The kitchen is in the middle of the restaurant so you can see the three chefs working their magic.  Our table was in a prime location, right in front of the chefs and the closest to them you can be.
Similar to Alinea (still my #1 all-time restaurant, though In de Keuken cracks the top 10), you are not given a menu in this place.  Your server asks if you have any dietary restrictions, and the chefs go from there.
Side note: when we told the server we have absolutely no dietary restrictions (and Alli added “life’s too short ;)), she smiled and said we’re her new favorite customers.
So we got a tasting menu, not knowing what was coming.  I think there were about 8 dishes in total, and we got a wine pairing to go along with it.  One highlight was a spectacular cut of pork neck (yes, that’s neck), cooked in a vacuum for 24 hours before being lightly braised.  Another was a tomato and basil ice cream palate cleanser.   A dessert featuring saffron interlaced with caramel and chocolate ice cream was delicious too.
Service was flawless throughout, and just as friendly, to boot.  Whenever I order a wine pairing I try to drink one glass ahead of the pace (ahead of the food arriving) to see what the restaurant will do.  Really good places will refill your glass at no extra charge.  In de Keuken passed that little test.
The prices are very reasonable.  Much cheaper than Alinea.  It’s not a bargain, but it’s well worth the expense.
We closed out the place, so we got to chat with one of the chefs, as well as the manager, for a while.  They were very nice and interesting to talk with.  We also got the one menu they did have, for our slowly growing collection.
Like I said before, if you’re in Amsterdam and you like good food, do yourself a favor and stop by In de Keuken.  You won’t regret it.