"New" Nordic Cuisine, Toddler Style

In honor of all those end-of-year accolades going to Agern, here's a guest post from one of the dads who attended our NYC Nibble+squeak lunch with his daughter!

Oranges are not what you typically expect out of New Nordic cuisine, but that’s what my 20-month old daughter wanted. So while I dined on an exquisite three-course seasonal meal that Nibble+Squeak recently hosted at Agern, Baby S munched on orange wedges. But even she couldn’t resist the grated leek, celeriac and apple topping on my skate wing when it was served.

She kindly alternated between munching on the medley herself and sticking grated slivers in my mouth. Sitting with a friendly group of other parents and their young children at the table, nobody minded the fine dining faux pas.

Shortly after we first arrived, while we were getting to know our fellow diners next to us, the servers brought the toddlers each a small bowl of fresh Icelandic Skyr with big, beautiful blackberries and blueberries on top. This was a perfect start! Yogurt and blackberries are S’s favorite. But as she is wont to do, she was having none of it. The other kids tucked right in (and I caught a parent or two sneaking a bite), but S refused. Rest assured, I ate every bite so nothing went to waste.

But before our next course, we went for a little stroll to the bar. And that’s when she spied them, between the lemons and limes: oranges! She shouted and asked for one. The bartender needed some help in translation, but he kindly sliced a small wedge of orange and handed it to S on a small black napkin.

S smiled ear to ear and bit right in. Eyeing the one little slice, I was just counting down until she…”MORE!”  We kindly asked the bartender for a bit more oranges and this time he happily sliced up half an orange and put it on a plate that we took back to our table.

My bitter salad with blackberry, almonds and havgus had arrived. So while I enjoyed a taste of Nordic cuisine at its finest, S munched on oranges. Everyone was happy.

There may have been a couple more trips to the bar to refill our plate of oranges, but the bartender was happy to oblige.  Once the skate arrived, S was clearly starting to feel the menu.  Maybe it was her attempt at drawing a fish using the crayons provided on the table that inspired her. She didn’t eat much of the fish in the end, but she did enjoy the leek, celeriac and apple mélange.

When the chocolate cake arrived, it was a battle to eat fast enough before S devoured it. She was slowed down picking off the sour cherries and trying to throw them across the table. With my superior coordination to a toddler, I could eat with one hand and play cherry defense with the other.

It was a terrific meal with lovely company. Clearly S isn’t bothered ordering off-menu, and thankfully neither was the bartender at Agern.