Nordic Cuisine is Having a Moment

Chef Rene Redzepi at his restaurant Noma- Photo care of http://blogs.denmark.dk

Maybe I’m the last to notice, but it seems like Nordic cuisine is having a moment here in the States. Historically, the foods of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have been tough to come by, and if you asked most Americans, they probably couldn’t tell you what it consist of (unless you consider Swedish Meatballs from Ikea “Nordic”). All that has changed, thanks in part to an award-winning chef in Copenhagen. Rene Redzepi, a former protegé to Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, and guest chef at El Bulli, has been making a name for what he calls “new nordic cuisine” for over 10 years now at his revered restaurant, Noma. While, Denmark is certainly on my list (let’s be real, everywhere is on my list) I don’t think I’ll be making it to Noma any time in the near future. That said, in the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of checking out a few of the best Nordic restaurants here at home and they did not disappoint.

Chef Rene Redzepi at his restaurant Noma- Photo care of http://blogs.denmark.dk
Chef Rene Redzepi at his restaurant Noma- Photo care of http://blogs.denmark.dk

Portland, Oregon, home to many excellent restaurants, plays host to a wonderful treat for brunch, Broder I was lucky enough to check Broder out on a particularly un-packed weekday morning, but from what I hear this place is impossible to get into on the weekends and I can see why.

Image Broder
Broder- Portland, OR (via Yelp)

This cozy restaurant features a unique take on new nordic cuisine focusing on hearty breakfast choices that will leave you feeling so satisfied you’ll want to go back everyday. We ordered the excellent Lefse crepes, which change daily, and were filled on this particular day with a mixture of trout and a sour cream like substance. So delish! We also dug in to the hidden eggs, or Forlorade Agg, the flavors and textures of this dish were out of this world good.

Hidden Eggs with Ham and Cheese
Hidden Eggs with Ham and Cheese

To finish off, we had the famous Aebleskivers with lemon curd. I would call these a Swedish take on a beignets, but I think I’d be underselling them. The curd itself was superb and the little puff balls of dough, the perfect texture.

Aebleskivers with lemon curd, Broder
Aebleskivers with lemon curd, Broder

Back in Philadelphia, it was Dream’s birthday. After such a tasty meal at Brod we decided to head down to East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia where all of the best restaurants have been sprouting up to test out Noord. (Side note: We are total Open Table points hoarders and had a hefty points check to use. They were more than happy to oblige, which we haven’t always found at other OT restaurants.)

Our meal was so lovely from start to finish. We started off with some delightful homemade rye bread served with garlic butter.

Homemade Bread- Photo care of Noord's Website
Homemade Bread- Photo care of Noord’s Website

For appetizers, we ordered the head on prawns and the Bitterballen, or fried pork meatballs with nutmeg and mustard. While the prawns weren’t “nordic,” save the fish aspect, they were wonderfully flavorful. Dream’s favorite part of the meatballs was the mustard which we gathered was also made in-house.

For mains, I opted for authenticity with the Seared Norwegian Salmon “Lohikeitto,” and Dream went with the Konijn in het Zuur (Rabbit Leg Confit). Both entrees were super tasty but Dream couldn’t get over the rabbit which was a great combination of flavors, rich but not over the top, and really well balanced. He even called it incredible. When dessert arrived, with a candle on top of course, Dream went to town. The cinnamon bread pudding was decadent and rich, and the leftovers made a perfect addition to our brunch at home the next morning. On our way out the door Chef / owner Joncarl Lachman walked us out and chatted with us for a bit. His kind attitude and thoughtfulness made the meal extra special, and put Noord on our list of must go back places, maybe next time for brunch.

Salmon- Photo care of Noord's website
Seared Norwegian Salmon “Lohikeitto,” -Photo care of Noord’s website

Want to read more? Check out: Saveur- Norway and Blog Denmark