Restaurant: The ‘dam – 998 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan, New York
I graduated from Marist College (go Red Foxes!) back in 2007. When I heard the owner of the ‘dam was married to a Marist graduate, and there is a Marist-inspired drink on the menu, how could I not check it out?
Hailey and I visited the ‘dam on a Tuesday night looking for a relaxing meal along with a few drinks. The ‘dam was the perfect setting. The restaurant/bar is long and narrow, with a bar lining the right hand side as you walk in and tables lining the left. The fully stocked bar has a television to its right, for sports fans looking to catch the game. Exposed brick surrounds you as you take a seat at the bar or grab one of the eight or so tables lit by candlelight. Overall, the place is dimly lit but there are a few clear hanging light bulbs that help to supplement the table candles. Board games sit on one shelf nearby, and these, along with the overall atmosphere of the place, encourage you to hunker down and stay for a while. There is no rush here.
The ‘dam has daily food and drink specials. On Tuesday, the deal was 2 for 1 apps, drafts and specialty cocktails. Perfect. We took full advantage of this and went to town.
First things first, I had to order the Red Fox cocktail (despite the fact it was bright red and I was a little embarrassed to be drinking it).
- The Red Fox: Bacardi Silver and Myers Dark with Sprite, Grenadine, and pineapple. A Shirley Temple with a twist.
The bartender at the ‘dam must have a heavy pour because this drink was strong. It definitely did look like a Shirley Temple (once again, embarrassed) but the vodka and rum took it to another level. The Red Fox was delicious.
Onto the food. We ordered:
- Mac and Cheese Tots
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp: pan roasted shrimp wrapped in bacon served with a roasted chipotle red pepper sauce
- ‘dam Burger: 8oz of angus beef topped with cheddar cheese and a caramelized bacon onion remoulade on a toasted potato bun
- Grilled Chicken Sandwich: grilled marinated chicken breast topped with provolone cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato on a toasted baguette with herb mayo
The Mac and Cheese Tots were delicious. Six fried balls of macaroni came out topped with tiny pieces of bacon and drizzled with a cheese sauce. Cheese exploded in your mouth upon biting into one of these and this, combined with the bacon, gave this appetizer a great flavor. The other appetizer, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, was equally as good. Six shrimp wrapped in bacon were placed around the chipotle red pepper sauce. The shrimp were well cooked and the red pepper sauce had a slight kick to it which I loved. Lesson learned from the appetizers: everything is better with bacon.
I ordered the burger for my entree. I’m a huge fan of burgers and this one didn’t disappoint. The burger was cooked exactly as ordered – medium rare – and came topped with a healthy amount of cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and bacon. This burger was very juicy and practically melted in my mouth. The ample amount of cheese, onions and bacon only enhanced the flavor of the meat, with the bacon providing a nice crunch to each bite. (Side note, the bacon was well cooked, exactly how I like my bacon – bonus points for that!) The bun was perfectly toasted and didn’t fall apart at all throughout my entire assault on this sandwich.
The burger was accompanied by a side of Parmesan truffle fries. These fries had a heavy does of Parmesan cheese on them and were very crispy. The cheese made them addictive and I greedily quickly devoured all of them.
The service was great. We were some of the only people dining at the tables (everyone else was at the bar) so the waitress was quick to help. She quickly brought us our drinks, food and made sure everything was to our liking. She also joked around with me about the Red Fox drink and how, despite the girliness of it, I had to order it since I was a graduate.
The food and drinks were all reasonably priced. Plus, the 2 for 1 Tuesday night special brought down the cost of the meal considerably, with our appetizers and drinks essentially half price.
The ‘dam was the perfect spot for a relaxing, casual and low key dinner and drinks. The food was very good and a notch higher than your typical pub fare and there are some unique drinks that give you the option of experimenting a little if you wish. The ‘dam conveys comfort. The staff doesn’t rush you out the door and makes small talk with the customers, something that really shows the character of a place. With a drink named after my alma mater, I’ll definitely be back. I recommend you give the ‘dam a try as well.