Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. It rightly gets a very bad press. That said, a different kind of smoking is used all the time to cure meat and fish. I had often heard about a special place in Amsterdam to get really great smoked food, the aptly named Frank’s Smoke House. I thought the name must have come from the TV series House Of Cards. In the American remake, Frank’s is a famous place renowned for it’s great food. So one recent lunchtime, I found myself at Frank’s Smoke House Amsterdam and got talking to Frank himself and this is his story.
Frank’s Smoke House is a dream come try for foodies and lovers of delicious meat and fish dishes. Personally, I have a lifelong addiction to smoked salmon, smoked mackerel and eels. For lunch I tried Frank’s ‘Ruben’, one of the lunch sandwich specials: Pastrami, sauerkraut and cheddar. I can honestly say that it is one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten. Lightly toasted bread and the combination of flavour is incredible.
I got talking to the person that made it for me and she introduced me to Frank. He gave me an overview of the menu for the shop and the restaurant and I quickly understood that it is an incredible place tucked away just a short ride from the Artis. I thought you all might like to discover it too, so here is a Q+A with the owner himself and you will love to discover this great place to eat. You’ll be glad you did. Thanks Frank for taking the time to answer all our questions.
q1. So Frank, what was your path to creating the Smoke House in Amsterdam?
A lifelong love of smoked salmon, learning to smoke fish in Sweden during my years at the Cordon Bleu cooking academy in Paris (graduated in 1984), working as chef for the American Consulate in Amsterdam, garage startup of the smoking business in 1994, opening the first retail shop in 2000 and the new restaurant and deli in 2017.
q2. Please tell us more about the different dishes you have for people who love meat and seafood.
Smoked foods is our core business, but is actually a vehicle for pleasing people with delicious foods of many types. We have a very wide range of classic smoked foods- fish, meats and vegetarian which can be consumed pure or integrated into various dishes and meals. All of our products are developed with taste and eating experience as the most important factors. Smoked wild Alaskan salmon is by far our most famous product which combines tradition, sustainability and fine tasting. We also have a fantastic halve lobster dish which we finish off with smoked gruyere and for the holidays we smoke up free range turkeys.
q3. What is so special about the smoking process?
Apparently, smoking began during the stone age as a way to conserve fish and game. These days, we follow the same principles of curing and smoking, while taking into account that most people have refrigerators, which allows us to focus on the flavor and texture. Curing or salting is a necessary step when smoking fish and meats. After the curing process which can take anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks, we either cold smoke or hot smoke the products. To explain the difference, I like to use the example of a raw Parma type ham (cold smoked) or a cooked York style ham. Same meat, but completely different product. Cold smoking is done at room temperature and consists of drying and smoking, while hot smoking is cooking and smoking. Cold smoking is more traditional, takes longer and gives the longest shelflife.
q4. How have you coped during 2020? What changes have you seen?
We reacted very quickly to the covid-19 crisis by developing high quality take away meals which can be picked up in our deli or shipped anywhere in The Netherlands. At times it’s almost like having a full restaurant without seeing the guests. We have also invested in our web shop to attract more business through that modern day channel.
q5. You are doing three course specials at the moment. How do you select them ?
We consider the season, integrating some smokey elements into the dishes and very importantly consider that the meals need to be shipped all over the country. These will be reheated at home and still need to be as good as freshly served in our restaurant.
Thanks Frank for answering our questions.
If you too would like to discover all the great things Frank smokes, then here are the contact details:
Phone: 020 585 7107
Address: Oostenburgervoorstraat 1, 1018 MN Amsterdam