When Claus Meyer opens a New York restaurant, there is an undeniable "Noma factor" that has locals running to the door (hidden as it is on the corner of Vanderbilt and 42nd). The design is gorgeous, drinks are outstanding, and the location is ideal for midtown business lunches-of a certain type. Dining here is pleasing as well as cerebral and unapologetically expressive of the New Nordic food scene, without a flight to Copenhagen. They may be using local ingredients, but that distinctive Scandinavian style dominates every dish. Bitter, sour, and fermented flavors reappear throughout each meal, perhaps beginning with a snack that combines icy oysters with pine needles. The salt and ash-baked beet is an instant signature that summarizes the kitchen's talents: it is cracked tableside for a dramatic presentation of earthy, sweet beets balanced with an aggressively acidic vinegar sauce, crème fraîche, leaves and shoots, all accompanied by their fantastic bread. This may seem like a lot of fuss, but it is unpretentious and thoroughly delicious. Desserts might virtually explode with rhubarb, sorrel, and the flavors of a summer garden. Also try the adjacent takeout spot for simpler lunches and pastries.
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