Sunday, July 13, 2014

And so it begins -- Kadeau (07/02/14)

In typical us fashion, we decided on Tuesday that we would leave Norway on Wednesday (instead of Thursday) to have an extra night, and some extra meals, in Copenhagen.  After our first night's dinner at Kadeau, we knew that this was definitely the right call.  (We would have eaten there anyway, but as our Friday lunch, which would have been kind of ridiculous pre-Noma.  And we also loved Radio, which ended up as Friday lunch instead.)

A fantastic, laid-back vibe seems to be the new Nordic norm.  When he called to ask about the dress code, Adam was told "just wear clothes."  (Not a single restaurant at which we ate had a dress code.  Adam didn't even need to pack more than one pair of shoes for the trip.)  Service was friendly and engaging; anyone we asked answered our questions with enthusiasm.  (Copenhagen seems to have a very integrated, supportive food scene; someone working at one restaurant would be quick to rave about another restaurant.)  The space is gorgeous -- airy, with well spaced tables and lots of natural light.  I loved the back wall lined with a rainbow of jarred pickles (although apparently the displayed pickles won't be eaten).  (Also cool: the circular table extenders that hang on the wall as though they're minimalist art.)

No menu is presented; you just pick whether you want the longer (8) or shorter (4) menu and you're off.  Obviously, we went for the longer one.  (Both were printed on the menu at the end; to Kadeau's credit, they picked the four best dishes off the longer menu for the shorter one.  Excellent perception of their own strengths.)

The first of many whimsically semi-camouflaged bites during our trip for which we were warned only to eat certain colored elements on the dish/bed of rocks/pile of twigs.  Delicious little potato tuiles filled with sunchoke puree.  (One small complaint: the printed menu at the end didn't reflect the alterations for our dietary restrictions; it's always a nice touch when, like at Geranium or Noma, it does.  I've captioned the photos as they appeared on the menu, noting differences.  I imagine that urchin would have been great; I don't know why we ended up with sunchoke instead, and I wouldn't have known to regret it but for the menu.)

Wine with snacks: Bereche & Fils, Brut Reserve NV
potatoes with sea urchin and pickled cucumber

The Nordic version of fried artichokes with anchovy aioli (and we always love the latter).  I have a vague recollection that we might have been told there was purslane in the cream.  
sand wort with oysters and chive flowers

Shellfish apocalypse!  Eaten whole!  Of course I enjoyed them.  
shrimps and pollen

Another delightfully whimsical presentation (both arrived face down, but I flipped one for the photo).  A nice play of earthy and oceany in the leathery dried sunchoke filled with creamed crab; we're suckers for sunchokes.  (Edit: I noticed when reviewing the post that Willows Inn uses identical boxes; that fantastic oyster was served in one, also on a bed of stones.)
red king crab and sunchokes

One of the weaker snacks -- raw asparagus -- but a tasty dip.
green asparagus, sour cream and chives

I recall that the beet jerky was coated in carrot dust (but the menu suggested not?); in any event, it delicious root vegetable sweetness.  The emulsion was so good that I ate it with a finger when I had finished my beet stick.
dehydrated beet root with yellow beets and yeast - emulsion of broccoli and garlic

No specific memory beyond that it was refreshing and that I enjoyed it.
fresh green soup with lovage

Like sour cheetos -- fun and delicious.
crispy sour dough and lichen

As the captions reflect, we had duck removed from the next three snacks.  I didn't miss duck from the little corkscrews of beet and currant.
gravad duck with beach roses and black currant

I liked the combination of the duxelles-like flavor of the mushroom puree, crispy sourdough, and a thinly sliced raw mushrooms, but would have preferred the sourdough on the outside rather than the raw mushroom, which was a bit bland to be the first taste (and texture) to hit my tongue.  I imagine the the crispy duck would have definitely dealt with this minor complaint.
crispy duck with mushroom pickles

Duck heart seems to be the offal du jour, showing up at Komi, Kadeau, and Amass.  Instead we got a skewer of a tiny head of lettuce, like a miniature romaine, and a slice of pickle (cucumber?).  I remember liking it but it didn't leave a strong impression.
duck heart with chives flowers, hay and cress

The second best dish of the meal, a bright riot of sweetness from the peas, brininess from the mussels, and acidity from the strawberries.  (Strawberries, usually green, appeared at every meal.)  The chopped mussels (and mussel juice?) added their ocean flavor without the distraction of whole mussels' chewy texture.  (I love it when a first bite makes me go "wow" with surprise and delight.)  Paired with H. Villemade, La Bodice 2012, which Adam's note describes as "smoky."  (All Adam's notes on the menu are in his indecipherable-to-me handwriting and drunkenly written at the end of the meal, so it's possibly that we are now misinterpreting.  He should have been a doctor.)  The wine was really good with the bread.
mussels, peas, broad beans, green strawberries, lovage

Adam: "Greatest bread ever."  Probably the best bread of the trip, and we had a lot of excellent bread.  (In Adam's experience from the summer after college, practically everyone in Copenhagen makes delicious homemade bread, even college students living in dorms.)  I loved the burnt hay butter, which had the sort of rich cheesiness that I love.  (Was it cultured?  May have included buttermilk?)  Both the bread and butter were so good that I kept going back between plain chunks and buttered ones, while Adam preferred the bread without the butter to mute it.

A nice showcase of leeks, which I love, but a step down from the complexity of the previous dish.  I don't usually love mackerel, but its strong flavor worked as a contrast with the leeks.  With Julien Altaber, Bourgogne Aligote 2013 ("anisey").
smoked mackerel, leeks, hemp

Another spotlight on a single ingredient, which I don't remember strongly.  I think I liked it best with the cream on the side?  With Les Vignes de Paradis, Savagnin IGP 2012 ("slightly honey").
asparagus, fermented asparagus, woodruff, sheep's milk

This was the single best dish we ate in Copenhagen.  I'm still thinking about it outstanding whey-brown butter sauce, which tasted like acidic butter.  I know acidic butter sounds weird and not necessarily like a good thing, but it was an amazing blend of buttery richness balanced by bright acidity.  With A. Beaufort "Les Larmes de Divona" 2010 ("slightly sour Bourgogne").
turbot, cabbage, lemon verbena, whey

Adam and I were split on the use of melted cheese over some of the onions; he found it distracting while I liked how its richness cut the mild allium bite.  Another simple dish that highlighted the main ingredient, with a nice acidity from the red berry sauce.  With M. Arndorfer "Rosa Marie" 2013 ("Riesling, worked").
new onions, cheese, last summer's red berries

Monkfish subbed for chicken feet (which smelled great at the next table and looked like a clawier, slightly smaller version of a Renaissance chicken leg).  The fried carrot (in the middle) needed salt, but otherwise a better carrots-in-textures than Oxheart's.  I particularly liked the darker dehydrated carrot (far right).  With Chassorney Saint Romain Combe Bazin 2012.
monkfish, carrots

Floral and sour and sweet, with an awesome sauce.  With G. Breuer Riesling Auslese 2011.
strawberries, beach rose, fermented autumn honey

This was a fascinating dessert.  The starchy potato and crisp radish slices should have felt discordantly savory, and yet the caramel made it unmistakable a dessert.  A bit crazy-quilt, and yet all the elements somehow made a dish that really worked for me.  With Le petit Beaufort Demi-Sec 2007.
caramel, creme fraiche, potatoes, radish, elderflower

Kadeau was our second favorite meal of a delicious trip, with Adam's initially arguing for it as the one on the basis of the mussels and turbot dishes.  (In the end, I -- and photo review -- persuaded him that while the highs may have been higher at Kadeau, the Noma average won out.)  It also had the best wine pairing; lots of very interesting wines that made for surprising pairings.


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