Smorgas Chef: Not Ikea
Authors: Monte, Steven
Occasion: Gilt deal
This is Ikea’s meatballs:
The meatballs at Smorgas Chef are so much better. Not that Ikea’s are bad, but Smorgas Chef’s are fantastic.
– Man, this deal sounded so awesome, but I wasn’t quite sure about the whole smorgasboard option. We tried the one at Aquavit a while back during restaurant week and we ended up liking the restaurant less because of it. So, I was hesitant. But Monte had the deal, so we had to go.
– One cool thing about this restaurant is that they started their own farm in the Catskill mountains to provide fresh, local produce for their guests. You can find more info here.
Monte: The Gilt City deal was a starter cocktail for each guest, and then a four course meal with wine pairings. The smorgasboard at Aquavit was a buffet style, but I’d much rather eat the tasty smaller portions at Smorgas Chef than eat til I was sick at Aquavit. Steven and I each ordered different courses so we could try more of the menu. Sorry for the dim photos, hopefully the writing makes up for it.
Our first courses arrived after two cocktails. Monte’s, made with aquavit (the alcohol) and some herbs, which was only so so. Steven’s was very tasty, made more so by the fact that it was called a “Viking Funeral.” Onto the food!
Steven: This was a very interesting dish. It was way richer than a tomato salad had any right to be, probably because of the cheese shavings. The herbs were also very intense in flavor. All in all, this salad did not taste anything like I imagined, since I was expecting something akin to a caprese. The tomatoes themselves were a bit boring.
Monte: I really enjoyed the soup, it was really sweet in the way that mirepoix is sweet (not cane sugar sweet). Little bits of apple at the bottom made for a pleasant juicy crunchy surprise in the soup!
Monte (smelling the meatballs): Is it just me, or does this smell exactly like Ikea meatballs?
Steven: Yeah, it smells the same…
Monte (after tasting a bite): Dude. This is NOTHING like Ikea meatballs.
Steven: OMG SO DELICIOUS!! Texture so rich, so smooth but does not taste like flour filling.
Monte: It’s just juicy and meaty without that greasy feeling. Gah! I’m ruined for Ikea.
Steven: This gravlax is so amazing because of its texture. The flavor itself is very delicate, but the texture was velvety. I don’t know how this was achieved, but my guess is that the fish was kept longer, either in a raw state or in the smoker.
Monte: I agree, these are a lot more delicate and yet richer than the Aquavit ones.
Steven: So do you think our appreciation of the food is limited though?
Monte: What do you mean?
Steven: Like we can’t appreciate food as well as chefs can, because we’re not chefs. So we don’t know the kind of work that really gets put into this sort of dish, or specifically what the chef’s vision for the food is.
Monte: Even though we cook at home?
Monte: I suppose. It’s true that we don’t really have to think about food and have that pressure for creativity. But I do think that cooking at home does give us a sense of the work that goes in. For example, deboning a fish is really difficult for me, so when a restaurant does it for me, I can appreciate that, right? At least, appreciate it a little bit?
Monte: The fish was very well cooked, delicate on the inside and crispy on the outside. I love the simplicity of well-cooked salmon. The peas were also really sweet and I appreciated the crunch of them.
Steven: How is this fish so delicious? How? Anyone? I mean, I can smell the butter, so that must have something to do with it. But it is a giant piece of fish, but still flaky and tender. And the seasoning is so awesome. A bit heavy-handed, but in this case, it works.
Monte: I wonder if fish monday exists anymore. Probably not. I think I remember Bourdain saying somewhere that times have changed and restaurants are a lot better about serving fresh food.
Monte: I never what goes inside a flourless chocolate cake except chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs. It sounds ridiculous in concept, but it’s oh so sweet and rich that I couldn’t say no.
Steven: Good. Subtle vanilla flavor, and crispy and chewy. And of course, the toppings were tasty. It was a bit boring, though. Tasted pretty much like a good waffle would taste.
Monte: I tried the waffle and thought they were delectable. I agree that they were exactly as how a good waffle should taste, but I haven’t had too many good waffles. So these were a treat for me!