Most New Yorkers—most people, period—haven't eaten at any of the Michelin-starred restaurants on Chef Gabriel Hedlund's resume, which include Kokkeriet and Noma. But Hedlund wants n'eat, his first American venture, which opens this Thursday, to be different—a more casual take on New Nordic cuisine.
The entirely a la carte menu currently features a rotating list of snacks, larger (but not too large) plates, and desserts made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Only two of the 20-plus items on the menu—a braised short rib with pickled berries and bone marrow, and fried turbot with cauliflower, tarragon, and whey—are priced above $16, and sommelier Pernille Folkersen said she wants the wine list to be "something for everybody, at a price-friendly level."
Creating a menu of only in-season ingredients proved to be a challenge for Hedlund, who says he had to rewrite the menu six times in the year it took to open before deciding on what is, for now, their finalized list. Hedlund hopes that one to two dishes will change every week depending on what local ingredients are available.
"We use whatever makes sense from the New York area," Allan Jensen, n'eat's general manager said. "New Nordic cuisine is all about using local ingredients and being true to that. Everything is local, fresh, strictly in-season. There's a lot of fermenting and pickling—the region is cold, so in the winter it's hard to grow anything. So we use ingredients from the best of both worlds—it would be crazy to import everything."
Among the few imported ingredients are three cheeses from Danish cheesemonger Arla Unika, which make an appearance in many of n'eats entrees (which are a little smaller than typical entree size) and desserts, including one of the stars of the menu: poached egg yolk with Brussel sprouts and gammel knas, a Havarti-like cheese.
Other menu items include raw mackerel with nasturtium, green tomatoes, and horseradish served in a cold tomato broth; lamb tartar topped with buckwheat, chives, and capers; and rehydrated beets two ways—with blackberries, pine, and cottage cheese or served as a dessert with goat cheese ice cream and browned butter crumble.
None of the desserts, including the beets, are too sweet (and most aren't made with typical dessert ingredients). The best by far is a small, refreshing serving of Icelandic skyr yogurt, dill, cucumber, and a tiny, crispy piece of white chocolate.
For now, n'eat will only be open for dinner at 6 p.m.—but that, like the menu, could change in the future.
n'eat is located at 58 2nd Avenue