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New Albany store sells fries and croquettes the Dutch way

Convention venue enriched

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

ALBANY, NY - Two New York residents and a transplanted Dutchman are trying to make Albany residents and visitors familiar with typical snacks from the Netherlands. The three men recently opened ‘The Frying Dutchman’ which caters to visitors of events staged at the Washington Avenue Armory Sports and Convention Arena.

The food outlet, owned by Tom Sinipoli, Bob Gilpatrick and Hubert de Leeuw, serves fries the Belgian way, from a special, $30,000 imported deep-fryer. These type of fries have become hugely popular in the Netherlands as well. A portion of fries sells for $3.50 and of course is served with the Lowlands favourite condiment: mayonnaise. Ketchup, mustard, peanut sauce, and other such dips naturally are available as well.

Croquettes (in Dutch kroketten) are sold at $2.50 each. Though described by one reviewer as ‘a Dutch egg roll-like concoction,’ aficionados and Dutch cooks all over North America alike know that a kroket is much more than that.

The name ‘The Frying Dutchman’ is far from original, the fare is, at least for New Yorkers, whose ancestors in the days when Albany was Dutch could not have imagined ever eating deep fried potato strips or deep fried ‘stew meat in batter.’ ‘The Frying Dutchman’ of course is a restaurant featured in the popular Simpsons cartoons on television, as well as a character in the equally popular SpongBob Square Parts cartoons. Enterprising Dutch restaurateurs all over the world have used this play on words for the name of their eatery. That is still the case with a number of restaurants and mobile catering units in the UK and Ireland. In 1970, Dutch immigrant John Dys called his new restaurant in Vancouver ‘The Frying Dutchman.’ He now operates ‘The Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe’ at one of his oldest locations.

Dys eventually launched the Western Canada-based ‘De Dutch Pannekoek House’ chain. The Albany fries-store owners similarly hope to start a franchise system.

Kroket: Though it has an egg-roll-like shape, it is made from seasoned stewed beef, veal, or chicken, mixed with spices in a tasty roux or thick sauce till it has a near dough-like consistency. Shaped, rolled in breadcrumbs, then egg, then breadcrumbs again, the kroket is deep fried and usually served with mustard.

Ball-shaped ‘kroketten’ with a half-dollar diameter are called bitterballen, which translates as ‘balls served with bitters (the drink).’