Nostra in Reykjavik, Iceland

This is ranked higher than the amazing Grillid on Tripadvisor, so we were really excited to check them out.  While still a nice experience, this was certainly not as good as the one we had at Grillid, despite costing a similar amount (12,900 ISK).

My notes from the meal:

  • lovely design of the restaurant, lots of interesting glass and mirrors, would have been cool if the name were a palindrome or otherwise symmetric but instead, we just saw ‘ART/SON’ everywhere
  • they were nice and flexible with a change we had to make in our reservation on the weekend, this is always appreciated
  • they handled our friend’s allergy okay; he didn’t develop anaphylactic shock so that was good
  • there was certainly enough food in the 8-course tasting menu we got; I wish there was a written version of the menu because sometimes it was hard to understand our waiter, but here’s my general memory, please pardon any errors
    • amuse bouche with hazelnut butter and roe
    • bread and lovely butter (we got cautioned to ‘take it easy with the bread because there’s a lot to come’)
    • cheese wrapped in cheese whey?
    • fish and mousse/yogurt infused with hay and red onion crisp
    • ceviche-like dish
    • mussels on leek and foam
    • yummy potato chips and leek foam
    • cod with a lobster sauce, lardo
    • beef tenderloin, ‘horseradish snow’, celeriac
    • pre-dessert with whey sorbet
    • grilled pineapple on sorbet
    • fudge and frozen yogurt?
    • sweet treats – marshmallow, caramel, and delicious sour fruit
  • there seemed to be a lot of use of local ingredients, similar to what we got at some of the other restaurants we went to in Iceland; beef, celeriac, lots of fish
  • I liked how they used one ingredient in multiple ways – we got one dish with both pickled red onion and a red onion crisp
  • the plating job was lovely
  • it’s nice that they had cocktails; I enjoyed my ‘Burnt Orange’ though it bothered me that the glass was sticky
  • unfortunately, our water glasses went unfilled on several occasions, though to be fair, my husband drinks a ton of water with meals
  • things dragged on at the end

Check out their website.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand in Reykjavik, Iceland

We had to stop by this famous hot dog stand despite the freezing wind and rain.  Got the ‘everything’ hot dog and it was fabulous.  The line moved quickly and so did we – the hot dogs were gone before we finished walking down the street. Check out their website!

How does this place not have a Michelin star? Our amazing experience at Grillið in Reykjavik, Iceland

Some thoughts:
– absolutely amazing food
– tons of creative and playful takes on food – for example, the take on garlic bread involved a soft potato bread meant to be pulled apart by your hands with a generous dollop of mushroom butter and then dunking it into a garlic soup – you’re surprised at first – where are the utensils? Would a restaurant of this caliber really let you eat with your hands? But then they come out with hot towels and a lovely cracked plate with the crack lined with gold – kintsugi-style
– loved the marshmallow caramel pops at the end, on a stick and bed of forestry
– celeriac and fish; seems very Icelandic
– service was good but not really warm or particularly attentive; water glasses refilled frequently but it’s not like EMP
– great view of the city, high up, overlooking; 360 astrology decorations
– comfy chairs
– mostly older clientele
– some of the items a bit salty (fish, lamb, dessert)
– no cocktail bar
– certain flavors incorporated in multiple ways in a dish
– always an interactive portion of the food – bringing freeze-dried or sauce or torch at tableside – really fantastic
– overall, I’m shocked this restaurant doesn’t have a Michelin star – maybe needs a better name and some better service but the food is top-notch

Check out their website!

Our tasting menu:
“4 COURSES MENU
Small snacks from the kitchen
Potato bread, roasted garlic soup and cep butter
Dover sole, ramsons & crispy chicken skin
Fillet of lamb, trumpet & cep mushroom
Beef tenderloin, celeriac, oyster mushroom &
spruce cream
Hazelnuts, arctic thyme ice cream & pears
Sweet delights
MENU ISK 11.900” (~120$)

 

And a handful of other Iceland shots:

Peking duck at Decoy in NYC

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We were told that Decoy had some of the best Peking duck in NYC. We booked the duck dinner for two ahead of time for the first round of dinner of the day. This dinner comes with the choice of two small plates off the menu – we went for the foie gras strawberry tarts, see above, in the shape of a little duck; and the oxtail dumplings. They also provide some fried fish skin ‘chips’ with three different kimchi style banchan – mango was my favorite! With the duck/wraps, there were two interesting sauces in addition to the usual hoisin sauce, a raspberry-based and a satay-like. My favorite was still the hoisin. You also get a rice dish included with the duck dinner, we opted to get the truffle egg, which unfortunately was really mostly egg and not very truffle. Drinks – ‘Year of the Salty Dog’ was adorable, with a little paw print in the foam. Fred was not very impressed with the meal, but to be fair, we had just come from Per Se so everything paled in comparison. Check them out on Yelp or at their website!
Decoy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dim Sum Palace in NYC Midtown

We stopped by this little basement dim sum spot while in Midtown, before going to the very cool Spyscape interactive museum.  To my great disappointment, because it wasn’t the weekend, they didn’t have my favorite rice noodle wraps.  The xiao long bao were delicious, as they always are. They have high-quality color menu with photos, which is always helpful for when we’re feeling adventurous.  Check them out on Yelp or at their website!
DimSum Palace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Agora in NYC

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Grandma's dumplings

Grandma’s ravioli

Chicken Shish Kebab with garlic yogurt

Chicken Shish Kebab with garlic yogurt

A nice restaurant, were able to get seats on a Friday night without problem.  Fantastic yogurt garlic sauce.  Really friendly wait staff, offered me the pumpkin lamp when they noticed I was taking photos. Grandma’s ravioli was delicious with great yogurt garlic sauce. Unfortunately, my chicken was bad in several places, ruining the dish for me. I brought this to the attention of one of the waiters who was apologetic and nice about everything. Check them out on Yelp!

 
Agora Turkish Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
 

Mezcal in New Haven

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