Friday, March 13, 2009

What You Read is Not Always What You Get - and Sometimes, It's Ok.

Dyre Vaa
A couple of nights ago, Boyfriend and I went out to dinner with some of his colleagues. The night was boisterous and a lot of fun. I knew the company would be good but what was more surprising was that the food was, too.

Dyre Vaa is set at the bottom of Grunerlokka, right next to the river. Which river? I have no clue but it’s just off the stop of Nybrua from the tram. The restaurant itself is small and cozy. The décor is modern and minimalist, much like the rest of Scandinavian design. The place is part bar, part restaurant with its small bar greeting you as you walk in. It can get loud in the restaurant whether it’s a gaggle of hens cackling over stories about boys or a group of businessmen after a long day at work so keep that in mind if you want to have a romantic date. The waitress was polite, attentive, and competent. She was obviously Swedish.

The atmosphere was nice but the food was great! Dyre Vaa has a small but balanced menu. They offer fresh raw oysters as their starters among other choices such as a crab salad and seared foie gras. My only complaint is that the description of the dishes did not match the dishes that were offered. For example, my foie gras appetizer was called a Terrine de Foie Gras. I was thinking of a molded terrine layered with the foie gras and this apple compote they described. What came was a seared piece of foie gras on a bed of cucumber salad with rounds of apple compote around – not quite the definition of a terrine. That said, the foie gras was delicious. It was very well seasoned and crisp on the outside. The inside was soft and fatty (as it should be) and the accompaniments of the salty cucumber salad and mildly sweet apple compote provided a really nice balance of flavors. For additional texture, the kitchen scattered roasted pistachios around the plate. It was delicious. My main course was a pork neck that had been deboned and braised. It was served atop “rotgrønnsaker” or root vegetables, except once again – it wasn’t. As far as I could tell, the pork neck sat atop some carrots, green beans and snow peas that had been boiled in the sauce and was a bit overdone. The pork itself was tender and flavorful and not too fatty, which I appreciated. I don’t think I’d order it again for I am a sides girl. I make my decisions on the entrée based upon the sides served alongside. The kitchen also sent out a bowl of roasted mandeler potatoes and a potato salad. The roasted potatoes were divine – I could eat them every day for the rest of my life and be happy. The skins were crisp and salty and the potato was soft and buttery. The potato salad was a very literal take on a potato salad – it was some boiled potatoes tossed with lettuce and other raw vegetables and lightly dressed with a vinaigrette. Not bad but not my favorite. I tried Boyfriend’s dish (he’s obligated to give me the first bite of his dinner) and his duck breast was very very very good. The breast was well seasoned and cooked to just the right amount of medium. I was far too stuffed with dinner for dessert but there were a few interesting options. What sounded most interesting to me was the Earl Grey Chocolate Mousse. But who knows? Maybe they use Darjeeling.

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