New restaurant on Preble Street makes up in food for what it lacks in atmosphere.
My visit to Dutch’s in Portland is a tale of the good, the bad, and the crunchy. My Shredded Chicken Salad ($8.50) was indeed tasty and I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
But first thing first, and it pains me to say this … the place depressed me. It’s frankly too big of a space and they’re not doing anything with it. The glaring overhead fluorescent lighting, the loud sound of the kitchen fan over music, the dull decor. It was anything but welcoming. However, the staff certainly were so I’m happy to give points for that. But boy, I ate my sandwich at the counter that overlooks Preble Street and I just didn’t want to be there.
The Shredded Chicken Salad sandwich featured all white meat feta-brined chicken, lemon, feta, celery, green olive tapenade and bibb lettuce. The menu says it comes on house white bread but a bread option on another sandwich caught my eye. They make a unique roll called the Dutch Crunch, which is topped with a sugary paste-like substance and cooked to golden brown. I gave up sugar a while ago but allowed this one foray into it because curiosity killed this cat and I had to know what the deal was with this roll. So I took a chance and it paid off because it was the most interesting thing I’ve ever had a sandwich on. The crunch was immensely satisfying and the bread had a sweetness to it that I found downright delicious, albeit likely not particularly healthy. The chicken salad was also cut from another cloth with the aforementioned ingredients. Despite the sizable olive pit, I’d order it again in a heartbeat. I also happily plunked down $2 for a bag of hand-cut potato chips which were fresh, crispy and addictive.
Dutch’s also has a sandwich called The Grasshopper ($8.50) that I want to try. It’s griddled halloumi, roasted red pepper, hummus, cucumber, carrot, pea sprouts, basil and romaine on honey wheat bread. And check this out: The Big and Beefy ($8.50) is calling out to me as it is red wine braised beef, mashed potato and crispy onion strings served on the magic Dutch Crunch roll.
Dutch’s also offers soups, salads and some impressive sides including quinoa tabbouleh salad, vegan fried rice and four cheese mac-n-cheese. They also have a whole mess of things that are untouchable for me but that you might have to investigate. In a word: pastries. They all looked fantastic and some of the items are gooey bars, rugelach, malted brownies and banana cakes with cream cheese frosting. I can’t go there but I can hit Dutch’s in the morning because they offer breakfast stuff including egg sandwiches served on a biscuit, English muffin or bagel. You can also get cheesy grits, oatmeal, a smoked salmon bagel and dried fruit & nut granola among other sides and such. Breakfast pastries include chocolate chip muffins, butter croissants and The Big D which is a hot dog with pimento cheese and whole grain mustard in a “croissant blanket.”
Despite my aversion to the actual space, I wish the best for Dutch’s and encourage Portlanders to veer off of Congress Street and check it out.
WHERE: 28 Preble St., Portland | 207-761-2900 | dutchsportland.com
HOURS: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
WAIT: About 5 minutes
PARKING: On street
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: No