PENDERGAST | Amsterdam

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When I asked a recent ex-colleague what his current favorite restaurant was he couldn’t stop raving about the brisket, ribs, and mac ‘n cheese at Pendergast. Sounded too much like pederast I thought, strange name for an Amsterdam restaurant but it was all clear when I found out the proprietor was an American from Kansas City. Some further digging showed that there was a famous politician in the 1920s with the same name and judging by the mixed and clean Dutch and American decor, looks like that’s what the owners were gunning for.

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In typical Dutch fashion, the dining area wasn’t very big, without straining we could easily hear other people around us talking, and of course, vice versa. We sat down to a big enough table for four, looked at the small, familiar menu and didn’t have to wait too long for the food to arrive. When it did I barely said a word apart from grunts every now and then about how good the food was – it was almost embarrassing as I barely stopped eating right up to when I emptied my plate. The brisket, ribs, pork cheeks, mac ‘n cheese, buttered mash, corn bread, and meaty beans were some of the best and most satisfying I’ve had in a long while.

But the neighborhood though.

If there was anything to find serious fault in, it wouldn’t be anything directly related to the restaurant. Amsterdam isn’t a cheap city and current real estate prices can prove that, but the neighborhood where the restaurant was in, in Westerpark, could be well described even now as up and coming – i.e., iffy. Rather a shame as the food at Pendergast is the ultimate comfort food I wouldn’t think twice about coming back to try the rest of the menu if it were somewhere else. The unwashed and sunken cheeked locals aside, I’ll just have to wait and see. It may not be in Kansas anymore, Dorothy, but I’m certainly glad I came.

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