“Food is an instrument for a more equal world,” said Claus Meyer, founder of the Meyer Group and Melting Pot Foundation and co-founder of Noma, discussing his lofty dreams for his authentic Nordic food hall that will be opening in Vanderbilt Hall inside Grand Central Station in early 2016. For years, Vanderbilt Hall had been mostly used as a special events space, but by 2016, the terminal will house authentic Nordic cuisine — including 7 to 10 food stalls and a sit-down restaurant. The food hall, says Meyer, will be approachable and affordable to the average commuter, but will focus on a bounty of vegetables and grains, the “green culture” that Nordic cuisine is known for, and lots of cold-water fish that aren’t found in more temperate regions of the world.
“It's about bringing the values of the Nordic Cuisine movement, rather than just the Nordic products, to America and New York,” Meyer told The Daily Meal. “It’s this idea of expressing a specific time and place through the food, and bridging deliciousness with healthiness and sustainability. I want to engage, educate, and inspire people.”
The food hall itself will have a large seating area, where guests can sample Nordic takes on familiar American food forms like open-face sandwiches, salads, small dishes, and hot and cold drinks, including the beers and wines of Meyer’s home region. Next door will be a sit-down restaurant where Meyer’s executive chef (yet to be announced), will feel free to be a little bit more innovative and unexpected.
Much of the world is so used to meat- and butter-heavy American and French cuisine, said Meyer, that their delicate and natural recipes like rustic Nordic bread that have been cultivated for centuries, will definitely be a cultural shift. Don’t expect a vegan or vegetarian food hall, however. Meyer gave us a sneak-peek at one of his favorite dishes that will be featured at one of the food stands: a whole grain sourdough bun topped with a rack of pork loin with crackling skin, and pickled red cabbage in balsamic apple cider vinegar, fresh slices of raw apples, and a mustard-mayonnaise dressing.
“We are going for affordable prices and an inclusive atmosphere,” said Meyer. “We want to be the DNA of New Nordic Cuisine, especially in the hall where Americans of all cultural backgrounds have been waiting for the train together for more than a century.”
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi