Cheese bubbles in the dockyards: My first Michelin star restaurant

While visiting Copenhagen with my foodie sister and chef brother-in-law, I visited my very first Michelin star restaurant. Since we knew there would be no possibility of dining at Noma on this trip, Sis did some research to find another excellent and accessible Michelin star restaurant. (Copenhagen has 12 Michelin starred restaurant; Noma is the only one with two stars.) Something about being named the best restaurant in the world makes it hard for plebeians, especially American ones, like us, to get a reservation. Go fig?! However, my sister had no problem making (and then pushing back) our lunch reservation at Paustian v. Bo Bech.

With my sister at the helm of the mission, we (three adults, one spunky, garlic-loving 6 year-old) hopped on a regional train, walked into the dock yards, through some fresh tar, and proceeded to get lost and debate (affectionately, of course) about the right way to get there. We had my sister's hand-drawn map from her earlier internet research and the occasional crude sign in the most inexplicable European language I've ever seen (and I studied Danish for 4 months!). We made it there--there being a very white, very Danish looking building, a high-end furniture store with a restaurant--sweaty, dusty, and hungry.

The servers wore hammer pants and bolero jackets and ours reminded me of Régine Chassagne of the Arcade Fire.

First off were some "cheese bubbles," which tasted exactly as their name would have you imagine.
Then, shrimp with chive blossoms:

And frozen grapefruit:

A beautiful slice of "ox heart" tomato with a vanilla-infused oil.

Throughout the meal we were offered three different kinds of bread: sourdough, licorice-glazed bun, and Swedish knäckebröd (crispbread), which tastes like an oyster cracker, communion wafer, and also nothing.

Between the four of us we ate every course offered at lunch that day. There was the smoked eel with spinach:
White asparagus slathered in...some kind of cream sauce, and served on a slate. Probably the most appetizing way to serve something incredibly unappetizing and dull.

And a braised leek atop lamp:

For dessert, vanilla ice cream with bitter wispy chocolate wafer and caramels:

Obviously my palette is not as sophisticated as the Michelin guide writers, but I enjoyed the first half of the meal far more than the last. The amuse-bouche were unique and tasty, the tomato was the stuff my (non-chocolate) dreams are made of, and the smoked eel might have made me an eel convert.

I think the restaurant closed the week after we visited, but will be reopening in a more central location, which seems like a wise idea. Thank you to my sister and brother for this culinary first! "Tak for Mad!"

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