Log In / Join Now

The Chef Takes a Vacation, Part 4

Posted: Aug 1, 2007 11:33am ET

(Note: Part 1 of Andrew Carmellini's vacation account can be found here; part 2, here; and part 3, here.)

Most of our meals in Scandinavia were from markets or in outdoor restaurants. For example, we ate fresh shrimp, right off the boats, served with mayonnaise and washed down with very cold local beer at a picnic table on the porch of a very small local restaurant on a tiny island outside of Oslo. And in Helsinki, we ate turnovers stuffed with whitebait (very young fish, in this case herring, that are edible whole) from the covered market by the water, followed by some very serious coffee. But in Stockholm, we had one last Michelin moment.

Fleeing the tourist-ridden Old Town, we stopped at F12 for what was supposed to be quick lunch. Three hours later, we were still polishing off the last crumbs in a dining room that really makes you get Swedish design. We had a blast from start to finish, beginning with this amazing house-made local-style black bread, served with more of that unbelievable butter (I ate about fifteen slices in a row even before the first course appeared). We had smoked scallops with lime sorbet, and a pretty excellent take on a roast veal sandwich.

I usually don’t like super-sweet icewines, but our waiter handed us a couple of glasses of a local product. Apparently icewine is new to Sweden. Only a thousand bottles of the stuff are produced every year, and it's impossible to find. It was honey and black pepper in alcoholic form, a perfect way to end a perfect meal on a sunny, lazy afternoon in Stockholm.

Who knew Scandinavia could be so cool?

Devin Kimble
Singapore —  August 2, 2007 2:18am ET
Andrew:I too just returned from Stockholm and can say that the restaurant Mathias Dahlgren was one of the very best meals I had in a long time. The elegant simplicity and seasonal inspired dishes were some of the very best I had in a week that counted Atelier Joel Robuchon, Momofuku and The Modern as counter points. Keep up the good work and look forward to your future posts.
Don Noone
August 2, 2007 12:01pm ET
Ah, so you are on vacation! That might explain why I was so disappointed by dinner at your restaurant. Or maybe I was expecting too much after consuming so much hype. The meatballs were fairly tasty, but the gloppy Ragu-esque ooze that topped it off has to be refined. One virtue, not too expensive, the hype hasn't translated into prices yet.
Don Noone
August 6, 2007 12:37pm ET
Mr. Carmellini, Indeed you are correct, the next time, and I cartainly will return to A Voce, I will offer any feedback to you or your staff. I did not mean to cast aspersions on your experience or your passion, just that A Voce was off its game if the reviews are to be believed. I realize that this was unfair given that likely most top-class NYC restaurants are off their games in July and August when the boss is on vacation.

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.