Opened by Claus Meyer–the “father” of New Nordic cuisine and the man behind noma–Radio is a more approachable way to experience the movement that has swept the culinary world. Lined with beautiful natural wood panels and adorned with giant pictures of cabbage, the design lets you know right when you walk in that you won’t be getting your standard French or Italian fare.
Julian: For those of you who don’t know, Claus Meyer is the man. Usually overlooked by Rene Redzepi, Meyer was actually the one who originally got the ball rolling with the whole New Nordic movement. Noma might be a very different restaurant without the genius of Redzepi, but without Meyer, noma doesn’t even exist. And–this is speculation on my part–neither do all those great bakeries we’ve seen in Denmark (Danish bread>French bread?!), nor the great Danish breweries like Mikkeller, nor the great markets selling smorgasbord using the best ingredients. Meyer made people realize that yes, there are great foods and traditions in the Nordic region, just as worthy as France, Spain, Italian, and Japanese foods.
carrots, langoustine, and rosehips
Jesse: Yeah, he really is the man. Together, he and Rene were catalysts for the creation of a New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto, a collaborative work of chefs, farmers, and other food businesses to define a vision for New Nordic Cuisine. And, from what we saw in Copenhagen–the organic markets, the restaurants, the children’s field trips to farmer’s markets, the care businesses had for their food products–it seemed like the majority of the population was indeed immersed in and believing in this movement. But getting back to Radio. The restaurant was simple and natural inside. Music played softly in the background–a little bit to softly for my taste, actually–a nit picky thing, but I don’t like when I only hear the beat or random high notes in a song because it’s played so quietly. The food was great, I’d say almost on par with Amass. But the restaurant did lack an energy, an excitement, that other places we’ve gone to have had.
grilled summer cabbage, hay cheese, herbs
Julian: It’s odd. I do remember everything being really good and pretty creative. I don’t think I would have been able to improve upon anything, flavor-wise. But in writing this post now, the dishes more or less escape my mind. Even looking at the photos, I can barely recall what the dishes were and how they tasted, which I am normally pretty good at. That might be due to a restaurant overload on our part. Or it might be due to a lack of pizzazz, character, and excitement on the part of Radio. They were a well-oiled machine, and everything went perfectly well during service. Counter-intuitively, this great execution lead to a basically forgettable meal. At least for me.
Jesse: Haha. I do think it was less memorable than some of our other meals, but I did really like the food. It simply lacked a character that other places had. But, I too worry that I may be becoming jaded. I don’t want to be a food douche. I love food, I love good food whether it’s in a shack, in a luxury hotel overlooking the ocean, or sitting on the pavement–but we’ve eaten so many stellar meals, it just seems like places have a little more to live up to. It can’t just be fantastic food, cool decor, an admirable mission, well timed service–we’ve come to expect a certain energy at places we really like. It’s like there are some restaurants that have been twanged with a tuning fork and all the elements vibrate in unison, creating an intangible feeling when you enter a place–you just feel it. It’s not just that the lights are low but you can read your menu and see what your eating, that the service team has a pep in their step and are clearly excited to be there, that the music is audible but you don’t have to shout to talk, and, of course, that the food is delicious– it’s all of those things vibing and building off one another, creating something you can’t quite put your finger on–but it works.
Julian: I don’t want to sound cliche, but it’s the intangibles that Radio lacked. Still good. But not like, whoa.
Side note: Jesse–we’re not disagreeing enough! I feel like we’re influencing each other’s perceptions too much. To take some knowledge I learned from my fake college major, they call it groupthink. Anyway, I propose that the next place we go, after Faviken, we eat in complete silence. You can’t talk to me, can’t even look at me to see if I like something. Then we write the blog post, blind to the other’s opinion. Capiche?
Jesse: A very important concern. Yes, I think this is a good idea. I guess for what we like or dislike about a meal, we have the ability to convince the other person of, and our ideas about a place often end of converging.