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#61 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 02:38 PM

Maemo is better IMO.
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#62 Jesikka

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:00 PM

Maemo is better IMO.

But weren't you at both quite awhile back?  I ask only because Anders Husa, who you may occasionally read or follow, seems to think that Frantzen has become the better of the two in the last year or so - he argues its the best restaurant in the Nordics, which is quite a claim.  Frantzen got its third star in 2018.  Was your visit before or after?



#63 Sneakeater

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:03 PM

Franzen much longer ago than Maemo. So, yeah.
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#64 Behemoth

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:29 PM

Bergen was basically constant rain and 26 euro hamburgers. Ok I had some nice oysters on a boat but someone else was paying.
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#65 Adrian

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 03:48 PM

Isn't Frantzen the restaurant where they knock-off dishes at more famous restaurants?

 

I'll write up Maaemo, Oslo, and maybe redeem Bergen (zero rain, no hamburgers, one really good meal (not Lysverket, which was okay)) soon.


I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#66 Adrian

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 02:21 AM

It's worth noting that Maaemo is the full SP experience and, once they move into what I can only imagine is a very designed space that will lose the table clothes, will only get more so. There are the snacks, and the stories about dish origins, and the bread course, and the no-choice tasting menu with, if you want, wine or juice pairings. Chefs come by to explain dishes. There are photos in the kitchen (where you realize that the cooks to patrons ratio is 1:1). 

 

It is also worth nothing that it is a really fucking good restaurant. 

 

One thing that Sneak nailed in his initial review and then also in his Vespertine review, is that the food is delicious. The various ferments, the weirdness (shaved reindeer heart, yeast in various cream and cracker forms), are all done in the service of making food that tastes very, very good and has a very clear identity. The snacks - the yeast a morel thing, but also layers of dehydrated celeriac and rose, and later chicken skin, creme fraiche and caviar (like we are in France or something) - are extremely assertive, each one a 'wow' type moment. The larger small courses are all really well composed in an almost classical way. Flavours are layered, building and interacting with one another, created complete, balanced, and blended tastes, stuff that could easily be done in larger format in an a la carte way. Some dishes are blindingly assertive - king crab in a smoked reindeer broth with fermented plum vinegar stands out as among the more intensely flavoured dishes I've ever had - while others a very delicate and subtle (my wife referred to a bowl of asparagus in various forms - fermented, pureed, cooked, near raw, etc. -  as being better than any vegetable dish we had at L'Arpege) and others, like slow cooked lamb with a pretty classic juice, were almost rugged.*

 

The service was near perfect, though maybe a bit more EMP than some people here would like (I don't mind that). There is scant value on the wine list, but a good conversation with the somm may lead you to some back vintages that you can justify. The list is quite good, however (and they gladly admit that many of the wines are way too young). There were some Norwegians in the restaurant, but it was a global restaurant tourist crowd, that brought enough money to pay for a blindingly expensive meal but the less said about the dress the better. Taion may have left.

 

They also helped us find a babysitter service, which was so awesome.

 

Anyway, just a world class restaurant serving clear-eyed delicious food that is orders of magnitude better than anything we have in Toronto. 

 

*Aside to Sneak: I disagree with the assessment about the state of food favouring the "sloppy" these days. I think the high end has moved to a very pretty, naturalistic phase, but the tweezery, fussy (yes, fussy), plating thing seems to be the dominate mode. Maaemo was in some places more rustic than I would have anticipated in terms of presentation but there was a lot of very precise, pretty food.


I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#67 Jesikka

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 12:43 PM

It's worth noting that Maaemo is the full SP experience and, once they move into what I can only imagine is a very designed space that will lose the table clothes, will only get more so. There are the snacks, and the stories about dish origins, and the bread course, and the no-choice tasting menu with, if you want, wine or juice pairings. Chefs come by to explain dishes. There are photos in the kitchen (where you realize that the cooks to patrons ratio is 1:1). 

 

It is also worth nothing that it is a really fucking good restaurant. 

 

One thing that Sneak nailed in his initial review and then also in his Vespertine review, is that the food is delicious. The various ferments, the weirdness (shaved reindeer heart, yeast in various cream and cracker forms), are all done in the service of making food that tastes very, very good and has a very clear identity. The snacks - the yeast a morel thing, but also layers of dehydrated celeriac and rose, and later chicken skin, creme fraiche and caviar (like we are in France or something) - are extremely assertive, each one a 'wow' type moment. The larger small courses are all really well composed in an almost classical way. Flavours are layered, building and interacting with one another, created complete, balanced, and blended tastes, stuff that could easily be done in larger format in an a la carte way. Some dishes are blindingly assertive - king crab in a smoked reindeer broth with fermented plum vinegar stands out as among the more intensely flavoured dishes I've ever had - while others a very delicate and subtle (my wife referred to a bowl of asparagus in various forms - fermented, pureed, cooked, near raw, etc. -  as being better than any vegetable dish we had at L'Arpege) and others, like slow cooked lamb with a pretty classic juice, were almost rugged.*

 

The service was near perfect, though maybe a bit more EMP than some people here would like (I don't mind that). There is scant value on the wine list, but a good conversation with the somm may lead you to some back vintages that you can justify. The list is quite good, however (and they gladly admit that many of the wines are way too young). There were some Norwegians in the restaurant, but it was a global restaurant tourist crowd, that brought enough money to pay for a blindingly expensive meal but the less said about the dress the better. Taion may have left.

 

They also helped us find a babysitter service, which was so awesome.

 

Anyway, just a world class restaurant serving clear-eyed delicious food that is orders of magnitude better than anything we have in Toronto. 

 

*Aside to Sneak: I disagree with the assessment about the state of food favouring the "sloppy" these days. I think the high end has moved to a very pretty, naturalistic phase, but the tweezery, fussy (yes, fussy), plating thing seems to be the dominate mode. Maaemo was in some places more rustic than I would have anticipated in terms of presentation but there was a lot of very precise, pretty food.

I think it is a bad sign that I felt a slight gagging reflex reading the dish descriptions.  Unfortunately I find that a LOT of Nordic cuisine is too much Nordic Cuisine for me, as delicious as the best of it is.  I don't think I'm in the place for Maaemo, I'm gonna have to have another 400 southern European meals first...Just how bad was the price tag?



#68 Adrian

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 12:55 PM

Less than L’Ambroisie (the website price is reflective for Maaemo, but north of US $1k).

Sneak was actually bang on about it - it sounds weirder than it tastes. A lot of umami and very conventionally delicious.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#69 Jesikka

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 12:57 PM

Less than L’Ambroisie (the website price is reflective for Maaemo, but north of US $1k).

Sneak was actually bang on about it - it sounds weirder than it tastes. A lot of umami and very conventionally delicious.

At some point I'm going to present the theory that there's a bi-annual limit to the amount of reindeer one can consume.  I think I hit that amount.  I really like reindeer, actually, but its just too much.



#70 Adrian

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 12:59 PM

Fair enough. Reindeer was largely a seasoning (the broth and the shaved heart) not the main protein.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.


#71 Jesikka

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 01:42 PM

Despite hitting the lifetime reindeer limit, I am headed to Oslo not this Tuesday but the Tuesday following. Any suggestions that are more casual than Maemmo? I will probably be solo although I might take clients out.

#72 Wilfrid

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 02:04 PM

"Shaved heart of reindeer" is a phrase I didn't think I'd be typing today.



#73 Adrian

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Posted 02 August 2019 - 02:58 PM

And yet here you are. Very good dish (over a traditional sour milk porridge).

One thing about the meal is that it is a reminder that there really is no substitute for time and labor. It’s easy to romanticize the small restaurant, and bemoan the fuss, but restaurants like Maaemo are a reminder that large staffs plus single seatings can create remarkable stuff. I don’t think you can approximate this quality without the time and space aspect and you need either a tremendously talented kitchen staff or a large kitchen staff to do it. And Maaemo is ultimately a chef driven restaurant. But it’s one that needs a high staff to patron ratio to do it’s thing.

I think you need to interpret what I'm saying in a reasonable way.