Philly’s only Scandinavian joint outside Ikea is a welcome guest
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“I’m really jonesing for some Scandinavian food.” Probably not something you or any of your friends say—ever. And for good reason: Scandinavian food hasn’t entered the mainstream American restaurant scene that Asian, Mediterranean, Italian and Mexican food have so monopolized.
For Philadelphia, that’s where the newly opened Noord Cafe steps in. The intimate restaurant is located on the corner of 10th and Tasker streets in Eastern Philadelphia, a short walk from the Tasker–Morris Station on the Broad Street subway line. Currently the only Scandinavian–centric restaurant in town, the newly opened BYO will likely leave you wishing there were more places like it.
Aiming for quality over quantity, Noord offers a single–page menu of Scandinavian appetizers and entrees. The dessert menu lives only in the heads of its waiters, waitresses and chefs. This simplistic approach fits well with the understated ambiance of the restaurant: dim, romantic lighting and smaller, more intimate table settings. Chefs and servers frequently check that you’re enjoying your meal, though they stay careful not to hover.
Noord’s version of bread and butter comes in the form of toasted barley bread with a buttery garlic dip. Appetizers range from the light and easy cream of celery soup ($9) to the Smorrebrod ($19), a traditional open–faced sandwich board accompanied by house–smoked fish.
Entrees come in on the pricier side, due to the strong presence of seafood, but every dollar is worth it. The shellfish choucroute ($29) delivers succulent prawns, well–cooked clams and mussels. The seafood comes drenched in a sauce of braised cabbage, smoked sausage bacon and potatoes. The sauce also serves as a handy complement to the leftover barley bread. In addition, the chef is happy to accommodate vegetarians; he prepares the pan chicken breast ($22) with a wild mushroom and pearl barley risotto sans the chicken. The result is a rich and creamy risotto that compensates for the absence of meat.
For dessert, Noord executes apple streudel ($9) with a rare precision that makes the classic dessert feel new and taste sweeter. Likewise, the bread pudding is so fluffy and chocolatey that comparing it to eating a chocolate cloud only feels a little bit silly.
Overall, Noord brings creative yet simple Scandinavian food to Philadelphia—we never knew what we were missing.
1046 Tasker Street
Don't Miss: Cinnamon chocolate chip bread pudding