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#16 Sneakeater

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:37 PM

The Most Exciting Restaurant I Ate At In Copenhagen

Koedbyens Fiskebaren is a fish place that opened last year (I think) in the Copenhagen Meatpacking District. Copenhagen is between 10 and 15 years behind us in New York in redeveloping its Meatpacking District. Meaning that there you still have a situation where there are a few new bars and restaurants strewn about among still-operating meat plants. Their Meatpacking District is more compact than ours: it's essentially three streets forming an H, two broad stems with a sort of square comprising the transverse.

The restaurant itself is stylish in a familiar way. There's a big rectangular bar in the center and a small bunch of tables and counters surrounding it. (One counter circles a cylindrical tank full of jelly fish!) Typical big-city young hip restaurant. In fact, they so buy into the hip New York dining style that -- unlike everywhere in Continental Europe -- they accommodate, indeed encourage, bar dining (on one side of the bar, anyway)! And, as you can guess, no reservations. Now I understand this gets annoying when everyplace is like it, but it reminds you how refreshing it is when it's not the ironclad rule.

But what made this restaurant exciting for me is the way it incorporates another dining trend. Which is young chefs from prestigious kitchens opening small, relatively unassuming casual places instead of high-key restaurants, while still cooking creatively. I didn't expect that here. Based on its moderate prices and its unassuming self-presentation, I thought Koedbyens Fiskebaren was going to be fresh-fish-simply-prepared. So I had a start when I looked at the menu. It was all Baby New Nordic. And, indeed, my waiter told me that their head chef and assistant chef came out of Noma. The staff is all as proud of this place as can be. And I don't blame them.

For an appetizer, I had these tiny tiny local shrimp that had been cooked in sea water, but are served cold with smoked cheese. This is not a combination I'd have expected, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For my main dish, I had some pan-fried witch flounder, served with fingerling potatoes and various local greens subjected to various treatments. Witch flounder (a local fish) is not as flaky as our local flounder in New York; nor does it have the same distinctive flavor. The way it was prepared, however, was exceptional. Instead of the usual batter, it was as if it was deep-fried in a pancake. (I don't know how better to say it.) Not a super-excellent dish or anything, but a very good one.

Like many restaurants, they purport to take their cocktail program seriously here (this is where the second-place cocktail comes from). But they don't go the distance (they won't serve or even offer the second-place cocktail to you unless you present your hard-core alkie credentials, since it requires fresh-squeezed juice and they consider that too hard to make in bulk). With all these well-designed cocktails, the (very personable) bartender free-pours, for God's sake (although he does have the sensitivity to then taste and adjust).

Anyway, this place was exciting to me because here we see the trickle-down of New Nordic. But not in any debased or adulterated way. I hope more like it emerge. (But not enough to bury the real restaurants, as is happening in New York.)

After dinner, I walked around the Meatpacking District. Jolene is a very popular bar that could be in New York's Meatpacking District, full of Annoying Young People at full volume. Karriere is a very stylish lounge/club where you could just tell the drinks suck and the crowd are douchebags (or whatever the Danish word for "douchebags" is), attractive as the room may be.

The Meatpacking District is in a neighborhood called Vesterbro, a racy district that was formally Copenhagen's Red Light District but is now its Edgy Young Neighborhood. I stopped into a club to listen to some Neo-Post-Punk band. It was truly astonishing how nice the crowd was.
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#17 SLBunge

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:02 PM

For an appetizer, I had these tiny tiny local shrimp that had been cooked in sea water, but are served cold with smoked cheese. This is not a combination I'd have expected, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I spent a week Denmark in 2001 and I still remember those shrimp (fjordrejer). Briny with a really intense flavor. I'm not sure that I ever had them warm, they always seemed to be served cool or cold with really good butter. Smoked cheese sounds like a good match.
Suffocating under a pile of cheese curds.

#18 Sneakeater

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:07 PM

"Briny with a really intense flavor" is exactly right.
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#19 Wilfrid

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:32 PM

Tiny shrimp with smoked cheese. That sounds worth reproducing, even with less interesting shrimp.

#20 nuxvomica

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:50 PM

loving this thread, Sneak
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

Everything is always OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.

#21 Sneakeater

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 11:03 PM

I've kinda shot my wad, though.

I'll leave you with this exchange between me and my date over dinner at Soelleroed Kro.

ME: It was cowardice for Kierkegaard to fail to reject God.

HER: You! You're stuck at the aesthetic stage! This dinner proves it!

(She didn't make any cracks like that when I selected our Champagne.)
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#22 Wilfrid

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 04:06 AM

Wow. Bad line about Kierkegaard. Oh dear.

Next time, emphasize Hans Christian Anderson as a major European writer, an overlooked Ibsen.

I should add that, grateful as I am for these wonderful posts, I am also having a fun watching clips from the Disney Goldwyn Hans Christian Anderson with the Frank Loesser songs and Danny Kaye just being a ridiculously good entertainer. That's what you get for putting salty old queens in your subtitle.

#23 Sneakeater

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 12:05 PM

I believe it's Goldwyn, not Disney.

If any Dane said anything bad about Frank Loesser, I know I'd get pissed.

Two and two are four . . . .
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#24 Sneakeater

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 04:39 PM

* The Hotel Nimb's website, which maintains the pretense that the hotel has a world-class cocktail bar, boasts that Jim Meehan did a guest stint there. I love Jim, and love his work. But I can't imagine I'd be happy if I got off a seven-hour plane ride only to find Jim waiting for me at the bar on the other side.


You know, really I'm a hypocrite. Because I DID go to see New York's own Alan Gilbert conduct a concert in the Tivoli Concert Hall. But that's really because, aside from being curious to see the hall (which among other things has an architecturally significant new entrance addition and a huge aquarium in its lobby), I thought it would be funny to see Alan Gilbert conduct in an amusement park.
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#25 Suzanne F

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 04:50 PM

* The Hotel Nimb's website, which maintains the pretense that the hotel has a world-class cocktail bar, boasts that Jim Meehan did a guest stint there. I love Jim, and love his work. But I can't imagine I'd be happy if I got off a seven-hour plane ride only to find Jim waiting for me at the bar on the other side.


You know, really I'm a hypocrite. Because I DID go to see New York's own Alan Gilbert conduct a concert in the Tivoli Concert Hall. But that's really because, aside from being curious to see the hall (which among other things has an architecturally significant new entrance addition and a huge acquarium in its lobby), I thought it would be funny to see Alan Gilbert conduct in an amusement park.

Doesn't he already do that?

I don't actually know what a handbasket is -- but whatever they are, singer-songwriters are in the first ones going to hell. -- Sneakeater, 29 March 2018 - 12:06 AM

 

notorious stickler -- NY Times
deeply annoying and nitpicking -- Molly O'Neill, One Big Table


#26 balex

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 08:01 AM

I was in Copenhagen too for a week or so this summer ... no NoMa either. During fashion week, which improved the scenery even further. A lot of naval ships came into town that week too. Imagine the scenes when the captain announced " our next stop is Copenhagen " .. cheers ... " in fashion week " ... hysteria breaks out. So lots of sailors of different nationalities -- Russian, English, American wandering around.

Like Sneak I liked the prawns and went on the rides in the Tivoli Gardens.


Among the places I went to --

Koefoed -- this is slightly in the Noma vein -- basically Veyrat with some Molecular gastronomy techniques -- everything comes from a small island.
The chef had obviously got some dehydrator and a low-temperature cooking thing.
The most interesting dish was a slow cooked "rooster" dish -- a strip of breast cooked sous-vide, part of it had turned slightly mushy but the rest was excellent. The waiter grated some dried sweetbread over it which gave it an interesting edge. Try this place.

Le le nha hang -- trendy Vietnamese place off the red-light district. Pho and stuff like that at lunch, and in the evening delicious, slightly fusiony, more formal food. Kind of like the Slanting door when it was good. Lots of beautiful people (this week anyway). Good fun.


Umami -- avoid; trying to be Nobu/Zuma and failing.


The one place I loved -- Tobi's cafe -- Just the perfect cafe.
Superb coffee; excellent sandwiches, delicious wine. If I go back to Copenhagen I will pick a hotel that is near here so
I can go there all the time.

Leifsgade 3

2300 Copenhagen

#27 Sneakeater

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 04:29 PM

You didn't go on the ride where you sit on a chair that's pulled up to the top of a huge tower ("You can see Sweden from the top!"), and then dropped down in free-fall, did you? I wimped out of that one.

As one wag put it, "First you see Sweden. Then you see your lunch."
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#28 balex

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Posted 21 September 2010 - 09:38 PM

I had done that one in London recently so I let myself off -- but the one where you sit in a chair on the end of a chain and are lifted high in the air and whirled around was quite ... exhilarating.

#29 Orik

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 05:25 PM

Orik can probably get into Noma, too.

(It's OK: I ate Redzepi's food in New York.)


He seems to be hanging out at Abraco far more often than you'd think geography would allow.
sandwiches that are large and filling and do not contain tuna or prawns

#30 nuxvomica

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 05:51 PM

You didn't go on the ride where you sit on a chair that's pulled up to the top of a huge tower ("You can see Sweden from the top!"), and then dropped down in free-fall, did you? I wimped out of that one.

As one wag put it, "First you see Sweden. Then you see your lunch."

and the last two dinners for me
“Eat me,’’ it says. “Eat me and die.’’ -- Jonathan Gold

Everything is always OK in the end. If it's not OK, then it's not the end.