I’ve seen the online documentary on the Danish TV channel DR1 where they showed how Claus Meyer built and started this amazing food place that specializes in northern (mainly Danish) dishes and delicacies.
Being Danish ourselves and back in New York City, my husband, Mr. A, and I decided one that that we, of course, had to go there and get a Danish hotdog. They do serve a lot of other Danish food, e.g. smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), pastries, etc., etc., but we were craving a hotdog.
So, we walked all the way from our hotel on west 27th street to Grand Central Station and were quite hungry when we arrived as we hadn’t had breakfast. The Food Hall itself is so gorgeous and blends in beautifully with the ambiance of the Grand Central Station. The Food Hall is divided into different culinary sections and the entire place was quite busy. People seemed to be enjoying the food and the place.
We spent some time looking around. Some of the prices seemed a little expensive in my opinion, e.g. the open-faced sandwiches were US$ 6-7-8 a piece for a thick piece of rye bread with a simple topping, which honestly didn’t look that impressive. It didn’t look like a real Danish smørrebrød to me.
We found the Danish Dogs at the other side of the Vanderbilt Hall and we’re so excited. They had 4 different kinds of hotdogs or you could make your own combination. Priced at US$8 a piece, this was definitely the most expensive hotdog I’d ever eaten…and, unfortunately, not the best.
Mr. A was so upset. He thought it was a piece of s* and a terrible and embarrassing representation of Danish food and Denmark. He was so outraged that the experience ruined the rest of the afternoon for him. It took some time to cool him off again and get him in a decent mood after that.
I get that the prices have to be more expensive when you’re in a prime location. I also get that any chef would want to put his/her own “spin” on the food they make, but when you’re dealing with a classic (Danish) “dish”, something so ingrained in our culture and in our lives…you have to tread very carefully when adding any kind of changes.
Of course, nobody will understand this particular case except for Danes, but you can get the picture. Danish hotdogs are (in our opinion) some of the best in the world – if not the best in the world because of the sausage. Period. So when you take something that’s seemingly so simple (it is, after all a street food in Denmark) and you change it up and make it different (maybe to make it fancier?), you can potentially fail. Especially, when you’re already trying to compete with something that’s so amazing already.
He’d also bought the world’s smallest flødebolle (chocolate covered cream puff) and when he took a bite of it and found out it was filled with mocha cream (he doesn’t like coffee!)…he was done. Just done. So was I and we left.
I still think the Great Northern Food Hall is a nice place and I’m sure they make some other types of food that are delicious. If you’re a Dane going there with the same expectations as we did and expecting to have real Danish food as you know it from Denmark – don’t. Don’t go or go but don’t set your expectations that high.
I’m really sorry, Claus, but I just can’t write anything more positive that this.