Nordic Dining in NYC
by Julie Besonen, 08/27/2013
Photo: Alexander Thompson
182 Allen St., 646-350-3973, Lower East Side, Manhattan
186 Fifth Ave., 347-384-2028, and 240 Seventh Ave., 347-335-0767, Park Slope, Brooklyn
167 N. 7th St., 347-529-4803, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Some cultures bond over beer or cricket, but the Swedes seem to value coffee breaks over all else, preferably paired with a sweet pastry, cookie or chocolate ball. Branches of Konditori, specializing in medium-roast, Swedish-style coffee and confections, have quickly proliferated from Brooklyn to Manhattan's Lower East Side. The latter, shoebox-size locale is patronized by locals bearing laptops (free WiFi) and Thompson LES Hotel guests popping in to remedy their jet lag. Be advised that the sublime baked goods are freshest and most available from 6:30 to 9:30am or so. After that, their fluffy, moist, browned and crusty zucchini-carrot muffins are sold out. Blueberry-banana and cranberry-Sunkist are good consolation prizes.
Fika (FEE-ka), its name a rough translation of "coffee break," is another Swedish chainlet with several locations throughout Manhattan. While coffee is available for on-the-go drinking, the Swedish way is to put your life on pause, take a seat and enjoy the clean richness and caffeine kick over conversation. The branch at 41 W. 58th St. is a favorite. The streamlined espresso bar, convenient to Central Park, sells chewy, caramel-like mini brownies and sugar cookies with almonds that go perfectly with a bracing, frothy macchiato.