Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

GREAT NORTHERN FOOD HALL, inside Grand Central Terminal, 89 Vanderbilt Avenue (between 42nd and 45th Street), Midtown East

There have been a lot of fancy, trendy food halls that have opened in New York in the last few years. Most are just big spaces with a diverse option of over-priced gourmet local fast food. I’m mostly a fan of them and I understand this economy’s need for something like that. But Great Northern Food Hall is a little bit different.

This is one of a few ways that famous Danish chef Claus Mayer has practically taken over the culinary side of Grand Central Terminal. In addition to the new Nordic food hall, he has opened a high-end restaurant, a take-away grocer, and a hot dog stand – all within one of the world’s most famous transportation hubs.

I have to admit I was not anticipcating that the newest food hall in this town would be dedicated to Nordic food, but I’m glad to see this under-represented cuisine finally getting its due.

The hall is divided into the typical stands – pizza, sandwiches, salads, juices, etc. But all have some interesting ingredients and unusual twists. Perhaps the most Danish of all the stalls is the one named Open Rye. This is where you can choose from a variety of smørrebørd, or small open-faced sandwiches.

Pickled Herring Smørrebørd at GREAT NORTHERN FOOD HALLI could have gone with smoked salmon, chicken liver mousse, or eggs and shrimp. But since this is Scandinavian food, I had to get my herring fix. The pickled fish was sufficiently fatty and plump. It had a nice vinegary bite that was tamed by a generous schmear of créme fraîche and enlivened with peppery radishes and the requisite fresh dill. The bold and bright concoction sat on a traditional slice of dark seeded rye bread.

Not everyone is a herring fan, but for those that are, this is a worthy choice. For those that are not, there is still a whole world of Nordic flavors throughout the market from sea buckthorn juices to pearl barley bowls to cardamom-studded pastries. It’s a far cry from the usual burgers and salads and that’s what I love about this place. That and the herring. Price: $6

GREAT NORTHERN FOOD HALL
Inside Grand Central Terminal,
Vanderbilt Hall
89 Vanderbilt Avenue (between 42nd and 45th Street),
Midtown East
greatnorthernfood.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

One Response to DISH OF THE WEEK: Pickled Herring Smørrebrød at GREAT NORTHERN FOOD HALL

  1. Ttrockwood says:

    This is one food hall in nyc worth visiting!! I love the bread counter, it’s so amazing to be able to get a proper loaf of dense crusty flavorful bread to take home. All i have tried are amazing so far, the rye could be my favorite. The coffee counter makes a surprisingly good mild roast coffee that pairs well with the breakfast porridges they offer

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