You shouldn't leave Copenhagen without having sampled at least one slice of this Scandinavian culinary specialty. With smørrebrød, the Danes have elevated a simple slice of bread into an art form on par with sushi, where everything rests on the fantastic presentation and a range of toppings only limited by one's imagination.
Rye bread is the base of all good smørrebrød, but not the kind sold in New York delis: a good rye bread is moist, not dry, with a nutty, slightly malty flavor.
Smorrebrod is not only delicious and healthy, it looks amazing — Photo courtesy of Columbus Leth
Just looking in the window of a decent smørrebrød store is an experience in itself. A talented smørrebrød chef arranges the ingredients not only in terms of taste, but also with considerations for color and texture, and the result has the abstract beauty of a modern art painting.
Aamanns Etablissement in Østerbro is a fine example. It's inviting enough not to be off-putting to tourists, but is committed to providing authentic dishes based on fresh, quality ingredients. This makes it a great place to start one's education into the art form, or simply to sample a great lunch.
It's not a large restaurant - the informal surroundings seat just 16 at two large tables - and has a simple, minimalistic design. Due to its size, Aamanns is mainly a deli and take-away.
Fear not, however, as the staff are friendly and the dishes impeccably presented. Lunchtime staples include the three herring plate (herring fried in beer, malt and spices, Brantevik herring and old-fashioned matured herring), as well as 'shooting star' (shrimps, cod roe and shrimp mayo) and cold smoked salmon.
Aamanns is run by award-winning chef Adam Aamann and his team, who since 2012 have been bringing the Danish smørrebrød experience to New York's TriBeCa neighborhood.