Historically speaking, Denmark was never one of those places I was dying to visit. I wanted to see the Nordic countries the same way I want to see, say, Montana—in a vague sort of way, never with any sense of urgency. Over the past few years, though, as the capital city began to pop up more and more on the food-media radar, it quickly earned a place on the list: I wanted to go to Copenhagen, and I wanted to eat.
When the opportunity to visit with family recently presented itself (thanks, Mom!), the first thing I did after booking my plane ticket was to try for reservations at the best restaurant in the world three years running; sadly for us, happily for our budget, Noma was booked solid months in advance. Happily for us, though, and sadly for our budget, this new-Nordic pioneer spawned a movement that has taken over the city; we would have multiple opportunities to sample modern Danish cuisine—maybe not as highly decorated as Noma’s, but beautiful food nonetheless—during our week here.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before experiencing the contemporary version, we needed an education in the basics. Our first meal would be a traditional one: smørrebrød, those iconic open-faced sandwiches, at Restaurant Kronborg.