Unique New Nordic Experience

When I heard that we were going to a fancy three course meal restaurant, I was intrigued because it is something I would never choose to do on my own, since it is so expensive. I was expecting that I would be served tiny portions of food that I probably would not like, but I still wanted to try everything because why not. I also expected it to be a lot like a scene in the movie Always Be My Maybe where they go to a fancy restaurant and eat crystallized lavender sugar bubbles. I thought it would be eating a lot of strange things that you would never even imagine being edible. However, based on what we read about this type of food in the New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto, the chefs who created this cuisine made a 10-point manifesto so that everyone has the same idea of what types of food are prepared and what foods can be used in certain seasons. I enjoyed that this was an aspect of new Nordic cuisine because, in America, people all have different opinions about what kinds of food are considered American. I was excited about this last meal, and I kept an open mind for the food that I was about to try.

When we arrived at Höst, we were told to go downstairs to the staff table in the cellar. It was sort of strange that we were not walked to our table because that is something that would have happened in the U.S. I was also disappointed about eating in the cellar because it was quite plain in comparison to the rest of the restaurant, but I knew that our group was too large to fit upstairs. The part of the cellar we were in had a country rustic feel to it, had a plant in one of the windows, and about five pizza peels were hung on the wall. The lights above us were dimmed, and there was an open archway that led to the other tables. Our table had lit candles, bottles of still and sparkling water, a bowl of two types of bread on hay, and butter on a ceramic dish. The atmosphere was a lot calmer than I expected it to be, and more casual because some people were wearing shorts, while others were wearing suits and dresses. Throughout the meal, there was an excited mood since everyone was unsure of what was being served and no one from our group had been to such a fancy dining experience before.

Once we were all settled, our waitress came to ask if anyone wanted to order any wine as we waited for our first appetizer. Before eating, we were informed that the chefs at Höst change their menu every week, which I found interesting because they want to get the freshest, locally sourced, and in-season produce every week. This is something I also expected because Matt Goulding explained in his article that new Nordic chefs stopped importing produce from different countries. Instead, chefs get it from local farms, since farmers like Søren Wiuff expanded the types of foods that they grew, and they can get better foods from Scandinavia than other countries. Once the wines were served, our first surprise appetizer of shrimp salad cups, radishes, and pickled strawberries, on top of charcoal. The next expected dish was raw salmon with cucumbers, red tomatoes, and a dill spiced horseradish sauce. Our third surprise appetizer was a malt pancake with crab salad and onions, which also had intense flavors from the onion and leafy greens that were inside, so I only liked the crab salad that was inside of it. The fourth dish was our main course, and it was baked hake with green asparagus and fish fume. The fifth surprise dish was a liquid nitrogen cream that had a coffee flavor and a tiny pine cone placed on top, and it sat on a plate of pine needles. The final dessert was Danish strawberries with yogurt sorbet and rhubarb. There was quite a bit of time in between each course being served, but it felt like you had to be done when everyone else was because the waitress took all the plates away at the same time before the next course came. When each new dish arrived, everyone at our table became hushed as we anxiously awaited to be told what we would be eating.

I was not too wowed by many of the dishes that we were served. The only part of our main course that I loved was the piece of asparagus, it was probably the best asparagus I have ever had, and I wish I had a whole plate of it. However, I still ate all the appetizers, even though they were not my ideal choices. The raw salmon was probably my least favorite dish because I do not like raw fish, it had interesting flavors, but it tasted too fishy to me. The one extra dish that I was unable to eat was the pine cone dish because I am allergic to pine trees, and I just never thought that I would need to worry about eating a pine cone. My favorite part of the meal was the sorbet dessert because it was sweet, creamy, and had hints of fennel, so it was delicious and looked beautiful. I enjoyed that for certain dishes, the waitress would come back after setting out plates down, to add a sauce to the fish. The food at Höst was what I had expected it to be because it was quite fresh and they told you where certain fish or vegetables came from, which is an aspect that new Nordic chefs add to their eating experience.

It was something fun to experience with all my friends on the last night because everyone was trying something new. I probably would never go to a restaurant like this ever again because it is just not the types of food that I enjoy. I would not say that I felt full from all of these courses, but I was pleased with what I tried because it was all new to me. I am glad that I had this experience because I most likely would never have chosen to do it on my own since it was so expensive. Overall, it was a truly unique experience.

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