Beginning tonight and running through the weekend, Chef Thrainn Freyr Vigfusson from Iceland’s Blue Lagoon restaurant will collaborate with Dahlia Lounge Executive Chef Brock Johnson on an Icelandic-inspired menu. The $65 tasting menu is selling out fast, so if you’re interested in trying the likes of Smoked Icelandic Arctic Char & Cucumber or Icelandic Free Range Lamb, call now to get a seat at (206)682.4142.
Yesterday, Chef Vigfusson came by the Seattle Weekly office to give us our own sampling of some of the menu items. The wild lamb (shipped straight from Iceland) was delicious—wood-grilled and glazed with huckleberries and served with a brown celeriac sauce, dried grapes, hazlenuts and dill infused oil. I kept the leftover celeriac sauce and dill oil; I’ll throw them on salmon or something this weekend.
It’s Iceland, so of course they brought a fish dish as well. The “Wild Caught Icelandic Cod” was equally tasty, served in a citrus sauce.
Though they didn’t have the Skyr for us to taste (the famous Icelandic cheese that’s similar to a Greek yogurt), we did have the other part of the dessert course that’ll be served at The Dahlia Lounge: the wild blueberry mousse.
Though Iceland is better known for its fish and fowl – and for curing and smoking – there is, in fact, a good deal of wild vegetables and herbs: among them blackberries and crowberries, rhubarb, mushrooms and more. And given that electricity is cheap there, greenhouses are plentiful and help extend the short growing season. Ironically, while Seattle (and the American culinary scene in general) has become feverishly excited about pickling and curing, the Icelandics are understandably a bit tired of those preparations and more interested in fresh produce, which we of course have in abundance. The grass is always greener…Literally.
We also had some really bad-ass bread called Rúgbrauð. This traditional Icelandic rye bread is baked in the ground, cooked by the country’s geothermal power for 24 hours (hence those awesome hot springs). You can use an oven too…The bread was yeasty and dense, more like a quick bread. It was hearty in a way that speaks of Nordic Vikings, and gave your mouth a work out chewing it. A very subtle sweetness just barely cut the dark, earthiness.
Oh, and they brought a bottle of Icelandic Vodka.
Here’s a cocktail recipe making use of it, compliments of Chef Vigfusson:
The Icelandic Reviver
1 oz. Reyka Vodka
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Lillet
1 oz. Lemon Juice
2 drops Absinthe
2 dashes Cardamom Bitters
Served on the rocks in a Bucket with a Currant Garnish