On The Road With RL Reeves Jr: Cafe De Klos In Amsterdam Netherlands

On The Way To Cafe De Klos In Amsterdam Netherlands

On The Way To Cafe De Klos In Amsterdam Netherlands

It’s been 17 years since I first broke bread at the legendary Cafe De Klos in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Back in 1999 the Dutch barbecue scene looked quite different than it does today. Modern smoked meat restaurants like Rough Kitchen, Wilde Zwijnen and Cafe Carbon did not yet exist. Other than De Klos, De Reiger and a few Argentine steak joints-finding barbecue in the city was a fools errand-the Dutch love their meat but cooking it with fire was not yet a cultural fixation.

In 2016 the landscape of barbecue in Noord Holland has changed dramatically. Big Green Egg smokers are chock-a-block in the city and queues regularly form at restaurants like Cannibale Royale, Uptown Meat Club and Mi Sueno.

The Best Ribs In Amsterdam

The Best Ribs In Amsterdam

But I’m still fixated on De Klos.

Walking into the dark, old meat house feels like coming home. The barman greets each patron with a wisecrack as the smell of sizzling hog and lamb flesh perfume the air. I always sit at the bar so I can enjoy the smart-ass barkeeps to their fullest. The repartee is impossible to beat as the staff are all on point and quick to point out any fault, defect or shortcoming they perceive in their customers.

It’s fun to see grouchy old fuckers finally dissolve in laughter as the staff eventually break down their resolve.

Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster, Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648

Banquet at the Crossbowmen’s Guild in Celebration of the Treaty of Münster, Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648

Heineken is undrinkable in the US but here in Amsterdam, just 25 miles from the brewery, it tastes like a fresh loaf of bread. Once the draughts start flowing serious hunger sets in and I begin dreaming of a big platter of smokey Dutch pork ribs.

Cafe De Klos also offers oven-baked ribs but I’ve never tried them. Smoke is essential in true barbecue and plainly makes meat taste better.

As soon as the barman takes my order one of the two cooks reaches into a refrigerator and pulls out a tightly wrapped packet of meat. The ribs are places on a brazier and cooked for close to 20 minutes on the hot fire. By the time they’re placed on a platter, and brought to me they are sizzling hot with smoke rolling off of them.

Cafe De Klos Pork Spare Ribs In Amsterdam Noord Holland

Cafe De Klos Pork Spare Ribs In Amsterdam Noord Holland

They are unfathomably delicious. The crispy hide on the meat practically shatters to reveal succulent pig flesh clinging to the bones underneath. There is no sauce nor is there any needed. A small bowl of garlicky mayo comes alongside the feast while a pile of sliced, cold white onion serve as a caveman-style garnish.

I wish I was there right now.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited Amsterdam since the 90s. It’s my favorite city in Europe and one I’ve often fantasized about living in whilst wool-gathering in my rear courtyard in New Orleans. It’s places like De Klos that make the city the cultural capital of northern Europe. It’s a Dutch institution held (by meatlovers) in the same regard as the Rijksmuseum or Concertgebouw.

A previous report I filed on Cafe De Klos

Address: Kerkstraat 41-43
1017 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hours of Operation
Sunday 4–11:30PM
Monday 4–11:30PM
Tuesday 4–11:30PM
Wednesday 4–11:30PM
Thursday 4–11:30PM
Friday 4–11:30PM
Saturday 4–11:30PM

De Klos Address Is  Kerkstraat 41-43 1017 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands

De Klos Address Is Kerkstraat 41-43
1017 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands

About RL Reeves Jr

I'm a writer living and working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
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