There’s always been a little confusion about where Hells Kitchen ends and Theater District begins, and vice versa. Newly opened bar “Dutch Fred’s” at 307 W. 47th looks to, if anything, be the boundary line: Dutch Fred, a police officer around 1900 said while patrolling in the area, “Hell is a milder climate, this is Hell’s Kitchen.” The name stuck for the neighborhood, and finally there’s a bar acknowledging the curious reality. We were able to spend some time at Dutch Fred’s on a warm June evening, exploring the space and tasting the menu.
Located in a prime section of theater and arts venues just west of the real craziness, Dutch Fred’s is close enough to be a stopover before a show, but far enough to not send shivers down a New York native’s spine when invited there. If anything, Dutch Fred’s feels comfortable and authentic. A long bar frames the room with wood all around. Ornate detailing on the floor and ceiling made the entire space feel like the interior a luxurious old sailing ship. Selections of hightop tables dotted the room and, an open air space towards the front was perfect for a private event. Not to mention an eager and educated waitstaff who seemed to actually enjoy being there.
We started the evening with a few mixed drinks, a dramatic (literally) selection of drinks include “Astaire Sipper”, with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Campari, Antica, and chocolate bitters as well as “Hell is a milder climate” (hey!), which involved tequila, Campari, Grapefruit, bitters, Agave, and lime. These drinks pack a punch, certainly, but are complex enough to enjoy at a measured pace. Some lighter drinks include “Kinky Boots”, a bright and ambitious drink composed of little more than Vodka, lemon St. Germain, and raspberries. Simple, but totally satisfying. My personal favorite was Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, which is composed of Brockman’s gin, blackberry puree, lemon, and champagne. It was fun but approachable, substantiated by the gin and lemon.
As for food, we took pleasure (perhaps a bit too much) and indulged in a perfectly executed Ahi tuna, beef sliders done just right, with a just-right amount of juiciness, a soft, curried crostini topped in egg and jalapeños, as well as a selection of beef and cauliflower tacos. The food was small enough to get through with just your fingers, but share a few dishes and you could easily fill one’s stomach.
After inviting a few friends to finish with us, with pleasure can we say Dutch Fred’s was delicious, inspired, and totally accommodating. We can’t wait to go again soon!
We hope Dutch Fred’s lodges itself in the mind of the population as well as the Hell’s Kitchen name did so many years ago. We’re feeling confident: the team behind bars such as Tanner Smith’s, Three Monkeys, and The Mean Fiddler is responsible for Dutch Fred’s.
307 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036