Now at Allen and Delancey. Then: A large moose head overlooked the bar, the interior was casual and dark, almost a bit drab, and you could saunter in wearing just about anything. Being neither elegantly blasé, sleekly stylish, nor heartily cozy.
The Good World Bar and Grill team created White Slab Palace which opened in early 2009 at 77 Delancey St (at Allen) on New York's Lower East Side. Phone: 212-334-0913. The White Slab Palace was closed in the fall of 2011 claiming harassment by local officials but the URL is somewhat up and quite a few of the local gallery crowd are still hoping for a revival.. www.whiteslabpalace.com
Good World Bar and Grill on Orchard used to be a strange animal indeed. It didn’t meet any criteria for what an eatery serving Scandinavian fare ought to look like. Not that it much mattered. It used to be the waterhole of choice for a mixed crowd of locals and hipsters, Leonardo DiCaprio included. And with a menu boasting lime and chili blackened salmon cubes, lavender flower cured lamb loin, Swedish meatballs, and saffron ice cream – not to mention an impressive beer selection – a trip down to New York’s Lower East Side will be well worth the effort. Stockholm-born proprietor Annika Sundvik says her idea behind the restaurant is “no stiffness, space between the tables and a purer kind of food.” A photographer-turned-restaurateur, Sundvik had been toying with the idea of opening a bistro for some time, and when she found a former barbershop/massage parlor in Chinatown she knew she had her place, and Good World Bar and Grill opened in 1998.
“I started experimenting in the kitchen early on,” says Sundvik, an entirely self-taught chef who began her culinary journey as a child. “My parents were both working, so they didn’t have much time to cook. I did a lot of it myself.”
For Sundvik, playing around in the kitchen is still enjoyable. The business side of things hasn’t dampened her sense of cooking as something fun.
“I don’t really know where I get my inspiration from,” she says. “Although I read a lot about food and food history, I don’t read any cook books. I don’t think about it, I just like to try different things. Everything happens in the kitchen, and what I’ve learned, I’ve learned through trial and error. I’m always inventing new dishes. I get excited about cooking for the personnel, for example, trying to figure out recipes that are simple, fast, taste good and are inexpensive. Like stews and tacos.”
But it’s not only about taste, of course. Dining should stimulate all senses – and as a photographer and former gallerist, Sundvik is adamant that the entire eating experience is a pleasing one.
“I like everything to come together as a whole. The food must taste and look good but your company also matters as does the surroundings and what you choose to drink to your food. That’s why I wanted an easygoing atmosphere, where everyone can relax and enjoy their meal.”
For lovers of all things Scandinavian, Good World is a treasure trove where you can enjoy seasonal treats like a cup of hot glögg or a traditional semla pastry. Sundvik also serves julbord (the Christmas version of the more familiar smorgasbord); she has a special Midsummer menu and hosts crayfish parties and Lucia celebrations.
“And we have something special for May 17th, the Norwegian National Day,” she adds.
Sundvik is about to open a new restaurant in New York, White Slab Palace, which also will serve a Scandinavian cuisine but with an emphasis on the raw bar.
Written by Eva Stenskär
Photographed by Johan Olander
For more info, see: www.goodworldbar.com /3 Orchard Street, NYC 10002 phone: 212.925.9975