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Posted by aaron & brian at 02:01PM, Sunday, October 31st, 2004

Sundman's Krog (restaurant review)

Eteläranta 16, Helsinki

Herring buffet: two words which will never adjoin in America. Brian was ecstatic, and brought back three varieties of variously-cured and -pickled herrings. My appetizer was an assortment of cured meats: elk, reindeer, and bear (we were later warned to avoid eating reindeer, since they eat all the little fungi and whatnot on which the fallout from Chernobyl settled. My thyroid hasn't fallen out yet, but I'll remember that for the future.)

As we ate, a procession of vintage cars whizzed down the street outside the window. It seems this is a Helsinki tradition: if I remember, the first Friday of every month, there's a vintage car fair in the market by the Suomenlina ferry. The stars of the show in this socialist utopia are, naturally, big American muscle-cars from the 50s through the 80s (Camaros, Mustangs, old Caddies, etc.); it seemed every Cadillac in Finland was in attendance, though our favorites were the 50s Jaguar driven by a pair of guys in matching vintage goggles and leather racing helmets, and a pair of weird little three-wheeled Italian things from the 60s in pink and orange, of which we caught only a fleeting glimpse over our dinner.

I had duck prosciutto for my main course, which was simply the perfect way to serve duck. The service was very European -- attentive, professional, and classy. The wine list, like many upscale restaurants in Helsinki, was not sublime -- they tend rather towards the safe -- but adequate. More impressive, as always, was the icy Koskenkorva, the Finnish shnapps (i.e., vodka) with which we started our meal.

We spent about 100 euros. Not cheap, but not ridiculous for the quality on offer. Simply the best meal I had in two weeks in Helsinki, which is actually saying quite a lot.
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