Restaurant Review: Smorgas Chef at Scandinavia House

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

Last year, I stayed at a hotel right next door to Scandinavia House on Park Avenue in New York City. Scandinavia House is a cultural center for all things Scandinavian. In the Park Avenue location, they had one of the three Smorgas Chef restaurants in NYC. Scandinavian food?! Really? I was so excited! But I didn't have a chance to try it. I promised myself that if I got a chance to go back to NYC that I would make it my goal to dine at Smorgas Chef and have some real Scandinavian food.

Not only was I determined to have Scandinavian food, I was adamant about eating as much Swedish as I could. I sent my Swedish friend Jonas (of All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing) a link to the restaurant's website so he could help me pick out the items on the menu that were the most Swedish so I could have an authentic Swedish dining experience. He helped me out a lot. I had a few issues. Mostly I don't eat Salmon or Veal and those are two meats that are very much a part of Swedish cuisine. I decided to eat some Veal (over Salmon which I just don't touch) in order to have that experience.

The inside of the Smorgas Chef restaurant is beautiful. There is a big birch tree right in the center. And Jonas tells me those chairs are Danish.

I started off my meal with a Lindonberry soda. It was soda water with a bit of Lindonberry jam on the bottom. It was super sweet and I wished here was less jam and more soda. It was still very delicious and tart. I definitely needed the glass of water though. Lindonberry is very popular in Sweden. It's Scandinavia's version of cranberries!

While I waited for my meal, I enjoyed looking at my surroundings. I love the little bowls with flowers that dangled from the branches. A very nice touch.

And had some bread and butter while I waited.

I ordered the Prixe Fix Menu for Spring/Summer which was $39. A bit pricey but worth every penny. It was four courses including dessert. The first course was this lovely dish of grilled asparagus, topped with two poached eggs, some shaved parmesan cheese and balsamic drizzle. I think they could have held the drizzle. It was fabulous. Could I have another one please?

The next course was Swedish meatballs. This was served in a square bowl with a heaping serving of really smooth mashed potatoes, topped with gravy, meatballs, a scoop of lindonberry sauce (like cranberry sauce) and some chopped chives. Delicious! I didn't eat all the meatballs because I felt bad about the veal. But I could have had another plate of those mashed potatoes! The lindonberry sauce added a sweet and tart kick to the meal that was very welcome.

The third course was duck with spinach leaves, parsley puree and cabbage with raisins. I didn't like this very much. The duck was blech and the cabbage with raisins thing was just strange. I loved the parsnip puree and the spinach though!

This is where I had my foodgasm. Dessert. Two pieces of waffle with strawberry sauce, a small cup of rice cream with black cherry sauce and vanilla ice cream. OMG! This was heaven on a plate. I wanted three more.

Overall, my experience at Smorgas Chef was wonderful. The staff was super nice, the food was great and the ambiance was delightful. I would go again and I recommended it to several people afterwards too. If you are in NYC, you must must must go to Smorgas Chef!

1 comment:

Jonas Nordin said...

What an interesting place! Smörgås is Sandwich in Swedish but there' are no Sandwiches on the menu haha!

The interior is very Scandinavian. Not that many restaurants here looks like this, but I totally get what they're aiming at. Interesting also that they incorporate Finland and Iceland as Scandinavian countries. The "real" Scandinavia is in fact only Sweden Denmark and Norway since our languages are quite alike. There is however a lot of confusion surrounding this as Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809 and Iceland was a part of Denmark until 1945.

Meatballs is the most Swedish dish there is, equivalent to hamburgers in the US, except there is no practical way to make fast-food of it. Duck is not that common in Sweden so I guess that is probably more of a Danish speciality. The sweet and sour cabbage however is rather common here as well but mainly for Christmas. Parsnips are so underrated! Make a puré or oven roast them in thin slices! Yay!

Waffles! We have a special day, March 25 when all of Sweden are eating waffles! Easy to make and totally delicious!

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