Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

At Pläj, New Nordic Cuisine Finally Comes to San Francisco

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM

click to enlarge LARA HATA
  • Lara Hata

There was a time last year when it seemed like you couldn't pick up a magazine without reading a gushing description of Noma, Copenhagen's temple to New Nordic cuisine, or its chef, Rene Redzepi. Like El Bulli before it, Noma became the kind of restaurant that people put a visit to on their bucket lists along with the Taj Mahal and Grand Canyon, and the press coverage got so saturated for a while that Eater started tracking what they dubbed the "I Foraged With Rene Redzepi Piece."

The New Nordic frenzy has since cooled to a low simmer on the national scene, but it's just heating up in San Francisco. It's the subject of this week's full-length restaurant review on Pläj, the new Scandinavian restaurant in Hayes Valley that fuses New Nordic and California cuisines. With it and Bar Tartine's new sandwich shop, which offers a menu of open-faced Danish smørrebrød sandwiches, we could be in the early stages of a New Nordic invasion.

New Nordic is more than just a cuisine; it's a movement. I touch briefly on its basic tenets of "purity, simplicity, and freshness" in the review, but there's much, much more if you're interested. A few days ago an anthropologist at the Nordic Food Lab (a think tank run by Redzepi and his Noma co-founder Claus Meyer) posted a 10,000-word dissertation on the movement entitled Creating Terroir: An Anthropological Perspective on New Nordic Cuisine as an Expression of Nordic Identity. (Sample sentence: "The first chapter will explore Nordic terroir as an expression of the 'imagined community' of 'the Nordic' by looking at the formation of the modern Scandinavian nation-states, and particularly on the notions of a Nordic folk [people] and the Nordic landscape.")

If you're in the mood for something lighter, read the guidelines for New Nordic cuisine that the Nordic Council of Minsters put together, based on a 2004 manifesto by Redzepi, Meyer, and others. It gives a great overview, with the added benefit of pretty pictures of Scandinavia and its food.

Follow us on Twitter at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Follow me at @annaroth.

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Bio:
Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.

Suggested Reading

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"