San Francisco has a new Scandinavian restaurant and if the client reviews at Yelp.com is any indication it is here to stay for a long time.
Roberth Sundell has recently met a lot of curious people. It's not just that they are interested in his Swedish origin, but because he has opened the first Scandinavian restaurant in San Francisco naming it "Pläj," a play with how a Swede would spell the pronunciation of the word Play.
Since it opened this summer, there has been a lot of work, but he is determined about the concept of the restaurant. “It should be fun,” Sundell says. He wants his guests, as well as the employees, to come and have a good time and feel right at home.
Sundell has had plans to open his own restaurant for some time, but it wasn't until he got an offer to participate in making Christmas dinner for the Scandinavian School that his plans became reality.
Many guests praised Sundell's cooking skills during that dinner. One of them was so impressed that he brought him to the Inn at the Opera to show him a place where he could open a restaurant of his own. After many years of experience in the restaurant business and a great set of cooking skills, Sundell decided it was time to accept the challenge.
Sundell has received more attention than he could ever imagine. A lot of people are curious to taste the dishes of far away countries and Scandinavian cooking. He had expected some attention but is surprised to discover there is such a great interest in the Scandinavian restaurant. Review site yelp.com, which collects views and comments from guests listed the restaurant with 4.5 stars out of 5. IF you're far from San Francisco, try Sundell's recipe for 'Skagen' on lobster with red chili
Pläj is located at the Inn at the Opera on Fulton Street in San Francisco. It is decorated with 1960's Scandinavian influences in brown and orange colors. The pictures on the walls depict Gamla Stan in Stockholm and other Scandinavian attractions. It is obvious that the restaurant is decorated to make guests comfortable; it feels like one's own living room.
“What is Scandinavian food?” is the most common question Sundell gets. He answers by saying that it is fresh, tasty and healthy. Everything on the menu is organic and inspired by Swedish and other Scandinavian dishes, but it does also contain some Californian influences. Sundell points out that it is a Scandinavian restaurant, so he will focus as much on other Scandinavian countries as food from is native country, Sweden.
The menu consists of Hagen (salad), Fjord (fish and seafood), Beta (meat and chicken) and Godis (dessert). The drink menu is filled with Scandinavian beers and other beverages, both alcoholic and non alcoholic. The menu will vary from month to month to keep some variety for the customers and staff alike.
When I visited Pläj a couple days after the interview with Sundell, I was surprised by how much the food and restaurant reminded me of my home in Sweden. It was a perfect combination of Scandinavia and California. Behind me sat two American women; I could not help but overhear that although they had recently been on a trip to Italy, this was the best restaurant they had visited in a very long time. After trying several dishes, one great food after another, my dinner company and I—for the first time since arriving in San Francisco—started to feel homesick.
We all felt right at home in the Scandinavian restaurant. As a native Swede, I am delighted to introduce San Francisco to a little piece of home.
Submitted by Cecilia Nylander
Swedish American Chamber of Commerce, San Francisco/Silicon Valley
333 Fulton St
San Francisco, 94102
More info, see http://plajrestaurant.com/