It might be easier to find somebody in Grand Central Terminal than finding Agern, a Michelin Star restaurant serving seasonal Danish cuisine. If I would not have found a directory in Vanderbilt Hall, I think I would have ended up calling them to ask for directions, Google Maps being useless once you enter in the beautiful train station that is Grand Central.
There, Icelandic head chef Gunnar Gíslason crafted a pretty small menu, with only few vegetarian dishes, meat and seafood being the stars. But, definitely, the decor, where wood is omnipresent, matches the theme of the restaurant. We started our meal with some drinks. Jodi went for a non-alcoholic beverage, the Hudson Standard concord grape, that she did not like (it was ok for me).
On my side, I looked for a cocktail with whiskey and picked the Stockholm on Seneca, made with McKenzie Bourbon, aquavit and spruce bitters. I was thinking that aquavit and bourbon was an interesting mix, like bringing two cultures together and was not disappointed.
As we were drinking our cocktails, they brought us some barley and sourdough bread with butter that was superb, the barley adding a bit of nuttiness to the sourdough. This homemade bread was so good, with or without butter, that they brought us a second one...
At first, Jodi wanted to order their Celeriac Ravioli, served with smoked cream cheese, hazelnuts and hen of the woods. But it was not possible to have them without hazelnuts as they were already made. So, they gracefully proposed one of the dishes from their tasting menu, the green salad with puffed rice, fennel and ricotta. A good salad, the puffed rice adding a little something to what would have been otherwise just a salad...
On my side, I went for the Grilled East Coast Squid, served with fingerling potatoes and powdered peppers. This was succulent: the squid was perfectly cooked, not rubbery at all.
For her entree, Jodi ordered the Grilled Broccoli with green almonds, crispy onions and miso, a good vegetarian dish, the only one in the entrées section.
I decided to try their lamb shank, accompanied by buttermilk, rhubarb and spring onion. The lamb, that was removed from the bone was sublime! I loved the fact that it was not smothered with tons of sauce and spices, letting it shine.
Last was dessert. There were two in fact. The first one was the Lighthouse Keeper Cheese (a Danish cheese made with cow's milk), sitting on coffee honey and crispy rye. I really liked it, the sweetness of the honey pairing well with the cheese that was delicious.
The second dessert was interesting...It was the Caramelized White Chocolate with strawberries, violets and fennel. The presentation was beautiful, but I admit that I did not like it very much, the flavors being a bit weird and not really what I thought when ordering.
Overall we had a good meal at Agern and the service was on point. However, I am not sure I would go back there, many other Michelin starred or not restaurants being a better choice. I would more recommend Agern if you want to try something different, but know that it is pricey for the quantity of food they serve. Fortunately, they have that delicious bread that fills you up...
Enjoy (I did)!
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Agern - Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017