Tonight was opening night for a long anticipated bar at the corner of 39th Avenue and 29th Street in the Dutch Kills neighborhood of Long Island City. And while for the longest time I expected a place called Windmill Tap and Grill would be occupying the location, what opened instead was a bright, cheerful and promising bar called Dutch Kills Centraal.
While the bar was too bustling for me to pester the staff about its provenance – for example, if it has any relationship to the aforementioned Windmill or if the extra “a” in Centraal was a nod to the particularities of the Dutch language – I was content to dive in and see what this new place has to offer.
Dutch Kills Centraal wisely launched with a modest seven item menu and the promise of many more dishes to come, as well as the eventual addition of a weekend brunch. From this launch menu, I tried The Centraal Burger which was prepared exactly as I asked – an ever so slightly viscerally pink, juicy medium rare. It seams an exceptional thing when a restaurant prepares a burger to your taste in the city at all, let alone amid the chaos of an opening night, so this struck me as a sign of good things to come. I also tried the Market Side, a fresh, refreshing kale salad with sweet and spicy pumpkin seeds, a wonderful dish which looked Janus-faced back at summer and toward the fall ahead.
As for the all important libations, as of tonight, Dutch Kills Centraal has five draught taps, including SingleCut Beersmith’s bold, beloved Billy 18-Watt IPA, Kelso Pilsner, and Founders grassy, drinkable All-Day IPA. The beer list is rounded out by a can and bottle list that brings another 15 or so American craft offerings to the table. There is also a full bar of spirits and liquors and a few house wines available.
Centraal staff was friendly and enthusiastic about the opening night turnout and the interest piqued by everyone who walked past the bar. The bar glowed a cheerful yellow and wide windows and a surprising streetlamp worked into the interior decor further drew the outside in. A long thin spine of a communal table bisected the interior, while people sat or leaned or lounged along its length, already looking quite at home. Personally, I can’t wait to go back and draw up to that communal table and see what develops at this welcome new addition to Dutch Kills.