If you thought we were at peak New Nordic, thanks to the relaunch of Fredrik Berselius’ Aska, and the opening of Claus Meyer’s sprawling food court and restaurant in Grand Central Station, think again. The Scandinavian hits keep coming; this time, in the form of the East Village’s committedly casual n’eat (short for Nordic eatery) which aims to free the seasonal, ingredient-driven cuisine from its decidedly high end trappings.
Which means — while chef Gabriel Hedlund has the requisite Noma resume — he had no intention of opening yet another exorbitantly priced tasting palace of sea buckthorn and hay-toasted shrimp. Instead, the concise, a la carte only menu features five assorted snacks for $8 each — although since options include Oysters with pickled cucumber, Chicken Skin cradling juniper smoked salmon and cream cheese, and Pine & Thyme Cured Duck, it’s well worth ordering the lot for $30 even. A selection of 13 larger plates all ring in at $16 (only two; Braised Short Rib with pickled berries and bone marrow and Fried Turbot with cauliflower, tarragon and whey, command a $5 surcharge) — a reasonable exchange for Poached Egg Yolk and imported “Gammel Knas” Cheese oozing over a bowl of brussels sprouts, or Cured Scallops and Mussels, enlivened by radishes and buttermilk.
N’eat continues the Nordic tradition of sparse, not-too-sweet desserts, proffering a choice of hard, soft or blue cheese with crispy bread and green tomato marmalade, or compositions that make intriguing use of savory elements, such as Icelandic Yogurt pierced with shards of white chocolate, cucumber and dill, or a Walnut Parfait, layered with pear granite and an earthy drizzle of hay oil.
Ingredient-wise, Hedlund’s obviously using the same playbook as Scandinavian luminaries like Meyer, Berselius, and Atera’s Ronny Emborg. But thankfully, he’s operating in a significantly more relaxed setting and at a much lower price point.
58 2nd Ave