There are chefs who can fill seats based on status alone — guide actors whose legion admirers eagerly show up at every opening. In Stockholm, that describes Mathias Dahlgren, a founder of the New Nordic Foods Manifesto and a Bocuse d’Or winner who has attained a cumulative 4 Michelin stars at a few restaurants to day.
His new cafe, Rutabaga, which opened in February, has garnered particular curiosity not only for its spot — in the house occupied for a decade by his two-starred dining room, Matsalen, which he closed last December — but also for its notion, to which its unconventional title nods: one hundred percent vegetarian.
“After ten yrs, I truly feel like it’s time for me to do a little something new,” reported Mr. Dahlgren, seated in the renovated dining room, now a shiny, welcoming house with cream-colored partitions and daylight streaming through large home windows.
The formality of Matsalen — tasting menus and tablecloths — has been stripped away and replaced by a much more casual type, with blond-wood tables and plates meant for sharing. The menu is lacto-ovo-vegetarian — some dairy solutions and eggs but no meat, fish or seafood.
“Today you really do not have to be vegetarian to take in vegetarian food,” he reported. “You can take in vegetarian food just because you think it’s good. It does not have to have anything at all to do with politics or with morals or with sustainability.” But, he included, “if it’s good for your health and fitness or the ecosystem, then that is like a bonus.”
On a bustling, completely booked Friday evening recently, a meal started with from-the-back garden cocktails, such as a refreshing concoction of celery, cucumber, lime, gin and dried-lime syrup, at an intimate desk with side-by-side seating. A fifty percent-dozen sharing plates adopted, among the them a shiny “ceviche” of avocado and jalapeño, grilled asparagus with romesco sauce, and pillowy gnudi in brown butter with crisp bits of kale and a generous shaving of summer truffles that lacked for practically nothing. There ended up flavors from all over the world, but Mr. Dahlgren’s creed — “the organic cuisine,” which depends on what is regional and seasonal — was consistently utilized.
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