- Bob Libkind May 23, 2003 07:35 PM
I'll be back in your fair city for a few days next week and looking forward to return visits to some of my favs as well as some new adventures.
I'd love one of those adventures to be Scandinavian, although I've found very little reference to that cuisine on his board, other than take-away potato dumplings.
Any recommendations for sit-down Scandinavian where I can get my fill of gravlax, herring and perhaps Danish open sandwiches? (I'm NOT looking for Swedish pancakes nor Ikea cafeteria.) We won't have a car and will be staying off North Michigan, so something cab-able would be good.
Probably your best bet is Tre Kronor. The husband and wife owner are both of Scandinavian descent: he's swedish, she's norwegian.
They do have swedish pancakes, but they also have gravlax, herring, falukorv, and a lot of other very authentic dishes.
Note that I've never been. But I'll bet you can find a number of good reviews online. And perhaps some other posters can chime in.
3258 W. Foster Ave.
Suggestion for those wanting Scandinavian smorgasbord in this town where it no longer exists: go to the larger of the two Andersonville Swedish delis across Clark from one another---I forget which one it is, but it's the one with the extensive deli counter of salads, fish, cheeses, meats, and sausages---and ask for a paper plate and a fork. Then get some quarter-pound containers of several good things, sit at one of the sandwich-and-coffee tables, and have lunch.
I would no longer recommend Ann Sather's Andersonville as a Swedish restaurant. Last time I was there the hearty vegetable soup had transmogrified into a clear broth with bits of zucchini floating in it: too mod.
re: Mike G
Thanks to all for your suggestions, recommendations and warnings.
I agree, Rob, the Epcot Norweigian buffet is just about the best rendition of the smorgesbord around; the only one better would be Aquavit's in NYC on Sundays and Christmas Eve.
Mostly I satisfy these urgings by pulling out a couple of jars of herring, some Finn Crisps, butter and an icy cold shot of Akavit with a Carlsberg chaser.
Although we'll be auto-less during our stay in Chicago, I will have a car on our last day so we can drive to Racine, home of my wife's family and, equally important, kringle and rollepolse. So, based on everything everyone here has reported, I figure a lunch stop in Andersonville is in order en route.
re: N Tocus
Ann Sather was a Norwegian.
In Norway or Sweden you will find a different menu that what Americans think of Scan Food. Much like Chinese, or Italian food is quite different.
I think Ann Would be proud of her restaurant today. The one on Belmont still has an old time flavor and good food.
Amazingly enough, my benchmark for Scandanavian food remains the great Norwregian buffet at Epcot Center.
Chicago has a very large Norwegian population, but they seem to have left all their restaurants behind. They were once primarily located in the Humbolt Park and Logan Square area, and today one can see a few remmants of that sizable community in the Norwregian American Hostipal, the church right in Logan Square that still performs services in Norwegian, the Viking Ski shop on Fullerton and the old Viking Club on Kedzie just south of Fullerton.
Besides Tre Kroner for Scandanavian food, there is Ann Sather that is moving further and further away from its Swedish roots (I have yet to try under the new owner, but I always liked this place way more than a lot of other foodies). Svea, in Andersonville, like Ann Sathers in style but only open for breakfast and lunch and in a very small room. In Andersonville remain the two Scandanavian deli's Wikstron's and Erickson's. Neither is especially good these days, I believe a result of lost demand. I like best at Wikstroms, the fried fish. Finally, there is the Swedish bakery, another place that somehow certain foodies denigrate, but I like a lot. Do be aware of long waits on Saturday. All of these places,except Tre Kroner and Ann Sather, are on Clark, north of Foster (and accessable from the Red Line/Berwyn stop). Ann Sather does have an outlet in Andersonville (near the above places, but it is not open for dinner, nor does it serve the full menu.)
re: Vital Information
While you are on the Scandinavian historical tour, and since there has been some discussion recently about ethnic social clubs, there used to be a Swedish private social club in Old Town, maybe on La Salle between Divison and North. I had dinner there a few times on business in the mid to late 80's. IIRC the food was good and it was a grand and beautiful building. Not your average storefront social club. There was a great lounge, with a clubby feel, in the basement. I think this was a men's only club.
re: Ed Fisher
I think that Svea has wonderful Scandinavian food, and the service is terrific. I always get the Swedish Tease (a breakfast combo), but they also have open-faced sandwiches, pickled herring, meatballs, and other heartier fare. Don't waste your time or money at Ann Sather's, but do try the Swedish Bakery, just north of Svea on Clark. They have wonderful coffee cakes (many with cardamom), and terrific Swedish cookies and pastries (you owe it to yourself to buy at least one toska bitar and one biskvier).
I would actually recommend Tre Kroner over the Andersonville places, as its food is better than Svea or Ann Sather's. I disagree with the other posters and think that Tre Kroner can be very good, although maybe the food is a bit uneven, I would definitely recommend it and go there regularly for breakfast and lunch.
The posts below all seem to bear out the sad truth that there ain't much goin' on smorgasbord-wise in Chicago. I enjoy the odd comfort food meal and sweet roll at Ann Sather's, but it's no more an authentic Scandinavian restaurant than Burger King is.
I haven't been to Tre Kroner in a while, but in the dozen or so times I have been there, I never had a bad bite, let alone a mediocre meal. Possibly things have gone down, but I'd certainly say they're your best bet. (However, I can't vouch for their authenticity.)