Skál is a relatively new restaurant in NYC that has the feel of an Icelandic sea side cottage – Owner Oli Bjorn Stephensen is from Iceland. The food at Skál is made with Nordic techniques – Chef Ben Spiegel previously was at Willows Inn on Lummi Island Washington, and then trained at Noma. Does Skál (pronounced scowl ?) serve really authentic Icelandic / Nordic / Scandinavian food? May be not, but what matters is that the food has been prepared with a lot of care and uses vegetables, herbs, produce, and seafood in inventive ways that the dishes taste phenomenal!! While vegetables and herbs are used liberally in the dishes, there are just a couple of vegetarian dishes at Skál (read below). I loved the vegetarian dishes more than the seafood dishes, and not because I do not enjoy seafood – the vegetarian dishes are truly not to be missed!! The vibe at Skál is casual, yet relaxed and nice!!
The cocktails at Skál use organic spirits, fresh juices, herbs and produce. The short wine list includes organic and bio-dynamic wines.
If you eat the De Cicco Broccoli at Skál, you will never want to eat broccoli prepared any other way. It’s beautifully burnt on one side, yet juicy on another, and is topped with duck eggs, green garlic, breadcrumbs, and some anchovy paste (so subtle, that I did not know it was there in the dish). Must get this dish!
The carrots prepared with burnt honey and yogurt were caramelized so well that this dish was almost dessert-like.
The delicata squash prepared with brown butter, autumn greens and goat cheese is another dish that ought not to be missed. Sadly, it’s no longer on the menu, even though I was there just a few weeks ago! I do hope Skál will bring it back into the menu as a special during this (Fall) season.
We ordered the night’s special (was it the Chatham cod that was the special that evening?) and were served the grilled monkfish although we did not order it. The server was nice enough to let us try the monkfish even though we did not order it. The monkfish was grilled perfectly, the cabbage and the cauliflower (pureed?) complimented the fish well, and the peppermint flavor was subtle yet unmistakable! I would get the monkfish again if I go back to Skál!
Skál is in a forgotten corner of Chinatown / Lower East Side, but it well worth seeking out… We’ll be back at Skál to try the other dishes and their desserts.
Blogger reviews of Skál NYC:
Related reading about Skál NYC:
- NY Times (Ligaya Mishan) on Skál
- New Yorker on Skál
- Eater NY on Skál (One of NY’s most unique restaurant)
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