Nordic Dining in NYC
by Julie Besonen, 08/27/2013
Boudin blanc. Photo: Alexander Thompson
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37 Canal St., 212-777-7518, Lower East Side, Manhattan
The former Les Enfants Terribles is now Skál, pronounced "scowl," which means "cheers" in Icelandic. The restaurant has an active bar scene and an indoor/outdoor design that makes it feel like a Nordic country cottage. Bespoke cocktails have names like Ugla, Hofi and Luftgitar, the last of these fragrant with spicy Rittenhouse Rye and cardamom nectar. The foreign intrigue of the place has made it an instant hit with a young crowd, some of whom are sleeved in tattoos, others still buttoned into their Wall Street gear at midnight. Duck wings are mandatory: the meaty drumsticks are as smoky as barbecue, the flesh yielding easily from the bone. The five wings are paired with a briny, complex, plush purée of red seaweed and mussels as black as squid ink. Everything on the menu has a captivating twist, from hake with verbena to lamb saddle with currants and bottarga. The wine list is replete with natural and biodynamic choices.