Skal, the newest Nordic (Icelandic) restaurant in LES
I went to Skal today.
It's the latest Nordic restaurant following Aska and Luksus.
The place is tiny, cozy, and chic.
Their cocktail menu looked so intreguing that I skipped champagne or sparkling wine that I normally accompany my meal, and ordered 'Gurka', which is Nolet's Gin, cucumber juice, lime juice, syrup, and black pepper.
Not sweet at all, and its sour, tangy, and peppery flavors stimulated my appetite.
Four fresh Kusshi oysters with green tomato juice granite, arranged on a bed of oyster & mussel shells, were refreshing.
Boudin blanc with turnips, and mustard greens was so flavorful and had a lot of 'umami'.
For dessert, I had beetroot with summer berries and Skyr (Icelandic yogurt). Not overly sweet and just perfect balance of flavors and texture.
Service was friendly, efficient, and extremely helpful.
Of all the three Nordic places that have opened recently, I personally found Skal the most impressive. Planning to go back to try other dishes soon.
37 Canal Street
tel: (212) 777-7518
Check out Aamanns in Tribeca, they have many more traditional dishes. Technically they're Danish, but obviously there's a lot of crossover among the Nordic nations, food-wise. There's butter-fried Hake at dinner, and “Fiskefrikadeller” (basically fish balls, but pan-fried) at lunch, and a number of other things.
I doubt the lamb is imported from Iceland - I don't know of any butchers in town that carry Icelandic lamb, it's mostly US or New Zealand.
You might want to check out Nordic Preserves Fish & Wildlife in the Essex Street Market, or if you've got a lot of time to venture out to the far reaches of Brooklyn, Nordic Delicacies in Bay Ridge. Both sell a number of pre-packaged Nordic products, cured meats and cheeses, etc, that might give him a little taste of home.
Been waiting on them to open, going this week to check it out. The prices are very good for the area, and I'm awful fond (as hounders know) of Nordic cuisine.
I was a bit wary of the cocktail list - every drink but one had some kind of sweetener, be it simple syrup or agave. Not a fan of overly sweet drinks, I've found 100% of the time if I ask at a bar the simple syrup be left out (unless it's a flavored syrup, obviously) I like the drink more. But good to know it wasn't overly sweet, even with that in there.
So, we have Swedish (Aquavit, Aska) Danish (Aamanns, Acme, Luksus sort-of) some less fancy Norwegian (Nordic Delicacies, Leske's, The Norwegian Seaman's Church) and now Icelandic chefs / establishments in NYC. Finland needs to step up and represent.