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The Tasting Menu at Agern
Mar 30th, 2017 by donuts4dinner

Had you asked me a week ago if I had any interest in Nordic cuisine, I would’ve given you something like a polite, “Sure, I’m interested in all cuisines!” And then, you know, gone back to eating my tacos. But if you’d prefaced that question by mentioning that the chef at Agern, the restaurant inside of Grand Central Terminal, has a restaurant in Iceland called Dill, I might have thought differently. I LOVE dill. And it doesn’t hurt that the owner of Agern is the same guy who helped found Noma in Denmark, which has been named the best restaurant in the world, oh, I don’t know, four times?

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Luksus Probably Deserves Its One Michelin Star
Aug 2nd, 2016 by donuts4dinner

Luksus, the Nordic tasting-menu-only restaurant hidden behind a door in Greenpoint’s Tørst beer bar, has been on my list for a long time as a Brooklynite who’d love to never have to leave the borough for her fine dining. I was scheduled to go see my family in Ohio over the July 4th weekend, but when my flight got canceled despite clear blue skies, I consoled myself by booking a table for two there in the hope of getting to sit at the bar and watch the chefs work. The OpenTable reviewers had given Luksus a 4.5, and Eleven Madison Park, which I would call one of the standard-bearers in the city, had a 4.8, so I congratulated myself on my good choice. But when I started talking to my friends, the consensus was that Luksus was good but probably not somewhere they’d return to. I thought about changing my reservation, but then I remembered the optional beer pairings and just had to try it for myself.

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Crêpes du Nord – French/Scandinavian – Financial District
Feb 18th, 2011 by plumpdumpling

It only makes sense that the ladies behind Goodies First and donuts4dinner would team up for a crepes luncheon, right? And we even had the good sense not to skip straight to dessert.

Crêpes du Nord opened about a year ago just a few minutes from my office in the Financial District, but that whole Stone Street restaurant conglomerate sort of scares me with its frat house feel. The street is closed to traffic and filled with umbrella-shaded picnic tables, which would be lovely if they weren’t constantly crowded with light blue dress shirts and uncomfortable heels. But that’s New York, I guess.

I had a gift certificate, which made the decision to go quite a bit easier, and it turns out you can enter the restaurant through the William Street side, which is considerably more relaxed. The restaurant can only hold about 20 people, so I recommend getting there well before or after the lunch rush. And if you get a table near the front, you can watch your crepe being skillfully made.

Crepes du Nord
Prosciutto di Parma, ricotta, arugula, black pepper, lemon

Krista described her openface prosciutto crepe filled with ricotta as a nice sandwich alternative that “certainly” beats the offerings at Subway, which I’m not sure is much of a compliment, but she did say she liked the buckwheaty heftiness of the crepe.

Crepes du Nord

Crepes du Nord
Country Herb Chicken, ricotta, ratatouille

The reviews I read all suggested the Country Herb Chicken crepe, and while I felt pretty pedestrian ordering fowl when there was herring, shrimp, and short rib on the menu, I just had to hope the reviewers weren’t all Statue of Liberty visitors with Ohio palates. I couldn’t have expected more from the crepe, though; side by side with tender summer squash in an herbed tomato sauce, the chunks of chicken were juicy yet firm to complement the creaminess of the cheese.

Crepes du Nord
Dulce De Leche, caramel, fresh banana, whipped cream

Again, this was probably the boringest of the dessert crepes, but it really hit my soft spot for caramel. The whipped cream could’ve been thicker for me, but once you’ve had the Peter Luger schlag, all other whipped cream is a fail.

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarBlank StarBlank Star

My co-workers were concerned my lunch date wouldn’t be able to keep up with me in the gluttony department, but it turns out I couldn’t finish either of my dishes. For $5 to $12 each, the crepes were just as filling as any generic sandwich but with twice the taste and skill required. Plus, the subtle but sleek decor makes it a great place for a lunch date.

Crêpes du Nord
17 South William Street
New York, NY 10004 (map)

Aquavit – Scandinavian – Midtown East
Dec 10th, 2010 by plumpdumpling

Two days after Marcus Samuelsson won the second season of “Top Chef: Masters”, my dining companions and I settled in at the bistro of his restaurant Aquavit and prepared to be wowed. Instead, we were merely contented.

Aquavit
matjes herring (mild salt herring), roasted yellow beets, scallions, sour cream

Aquavit
herring sampler, boiled potatoes, Vasterbotten cheese

Aquavit
cherry and wild boar salad

Aquavit
sage-roasted Penobscot (Maine?) chicken breast, broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, snap peas, spring onion crème

Undersalted! Bland! Only slightly saved by the delicious sauce!

Aquavit
smörgåsbord!

Aquavit
cold-poached salmon, red quinoa, wax beans, chervil hollandaise

Aquavit
Nik and Kamran

Aquavit
Jack and Anthony (they’re single and like good food, ladies!)

Aquavit
chocolate pot de crème

Aquavit
cardamom pound cake

Aquavit
sorbet sampler

This was the best of the desserts, as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t think that’s a good sign.

Aquavit
no clue, but it looks yummy, huh?

Rating One StarOne StarOne StarOne-Half StarZero Stars

I’m concerned this may be one of those cases–like Jean-Georges’ restaurants The Mark or Nougatine–where you just don’t get the same experience when the chefs are using less-expensive ingredients in their bistro/bar room/spinoff-restaurant-for-poor-people. For a New York Times 3-star chef to serve a $35 prix-fixe probably means some shortcuts were taken. Or maybe it’s just that this kind of food–a simple chicken breast, some salmon with butter sauce, a slice of herring–is inherently kind of bland to me. My boyfriend, for instance, thinks fondly of his smörgåsbord, because he loves lots of different flavors on a plate and was pleased to actually like the herring, which he was apprehensive about. I just couldn’t get over the fact that the vegetables on my plate were completely unsalted; even at $35, I expect basic technical skills to be mastered.

Aquavit
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022 (map)

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