UPDATE: THIS PLACE IS NOW CLSOED!
Skal is an Icelandic joint on Canal Street WAY on the east side. The end of Canal Street. I never realized how awesome this end of Canal Street was. Skal is actually the only place in NYC where you can try Icelandic food. The name of the restaurant means “cheers.” So SKAL!
The decor is really nice: washed blue with dark brown and white. Very “modern nuptials” in scheme, with a bit of Cape Cod accents.
The owner, Christoff, is awesome. He’s really nice, hands-on, with a great personality. He also sports a wonderful head of hair that makes me really jealous.
My wife and I came here for a Tabelog tasting event that involved seven courses of greatness.
First were the pickled veggies. This included everything from cauliflower to broccoli to root veggies and greens.
Next were the oysters. These were small but briny and potent. They tasted like the sea but not too fishy to the point of yuck. They were salty, creamy and dressed with a little bit of dill.
After, there were some passed salt cod croquettes with a horseradish sauce. These were really nicely fried, and the salt cod was tame and gentle. Really nice.
The caramelized carrots and root veggies with burnt honey were really tasty, though if you weren’t careful they did stick to your teeth quite a bit. Make sure you slosh with some water…
…Or some mixed drinks. The bartenders at Skal were mixing up some really nice shit. There was a gin-based, cucumber-infused drink with black pepper. That was great. Also a muddled berry drink, and a ginger, basil and vodka drink that was nicely balanced.
These little beauties were smoked mackerel and foie gras served in an onion cup that had been steamed in whey. It was smooth and creamy, almost mousse-like. This might have taken best of the night, though it was neck-and-neck with the next dish.
That next round of food was the duck wings. Holy shit, football fans… These motherfuckers were amazing. Soft, juicy, tender, jammed with flavor and perfectly dressed with red seaweed, mussels and a squid ink type of sauce. I know yo’re thinking “that’s not a traditional wing,” to which I would say “shut the fuck up and try it, then decide.”
Last, there was a little raw beef app. Raw beef with clams, fermented ramps and sorrel. Delicious enough to satiate this carvivore’s never-ending desire for beef.
That signaled the end of the meal. As we were digesting, Kenta from Tabelog announced some new plans for the site and told us about their launches in Chicago and California. Things are looking really great for their US venture. I hope it takes off!
Then the humble chef of Skal came out to tell us about the food and the restaurant. I’d definitely eat here again. Especially for the wings, the mackerel and the oysters.
But… I needed a little something extra, because deep down I’m still a fat guy, despite losing over 40lbs since January 1. So we went to nearby Bassanova with our friend from the party, Jay, who runs the Dishelin Guide website. Check out his page – pretty damn good idea for a food blog! Ramen is a great way to cap off any night. This particular variety was truffle wadashi tondaku ramen (pork broth).