East Passyunk is becoming one of the hottest areas in all of Philly. While Rittenhouse Square and Old City may be reserved for the established chefs of the city, East Passyunk is an area where you'll find some newer, hipper food options. So, after hearing so many people raving about it, I decided to go down there and see what all the fuss was about.

Upon hopping out of the Uber, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of restaurants, coffee shops, and bakeries that lined the streets.  I started seeing the names of restaurants I had only heard of and, at that moment, I decided I'd start going down there more often. After hitting a few of the mainstream restaurants like Barcelona Wine Bar and Plenty Cafe, it was ultimately time for me to try Noord, the famed restaurant of owner Chef Joncarl Lachman.  After waiting over a month for the reservation, I was beyond excited to finally go South and start my culinary experience.

The Restaurant

The Uber let us out right in front of the inconspicuous restaurant on the corner of Tasker and 11th. As I walked into the restaurant, I was amazed at how quickly the ambiance changed.  From a soporific, quiet neighborhood, I found myself in a buzzing and cheery restaurant.  Someone walked over and asked, "are you Mr. Fox?"  I promptly replied "yes," and he walked us over to the only open table in the small restaurant.  He handed us the menus and walked back to the kitchen.  

Perusing the menu, I was fascinated by the eclectic mixture of Dutch and Norwegian food. I have been to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Holland before, so I have experienced this food quite a lot and honestly, I absolutely love it. Scandinavia, besides for Holland, has my favorite food in all of Europe, so I was excited to get a blast from the past here. Soon, a waiter came over and with that, the meal began.


The bread came out and I was instantly in love.  It was a hot, charcoal-marked semolina bread with a salty and sweet brown sugar butter.  Needless to say, we had them bring us more bread three times throughout the meal.


Jesse Fox

For the appetizer course, my friend and I shared. Together we ordered the endive and apple salad, and the mustard soup.  The salad was beyond tasty; the apples were sweet and crunchy, the blue cheese was soft and bitter, the dressing was creamy and sweet, and croutons were hard and salty.  All the flavors and textures married perfectly to create an interesting dish. 

The soup, however, is what really did it for me.  It came out with a giant scallop in the middle and was topped with caviar.  When I took my first bite, I was astounded. The soup itself was sweet and had just a little bit of kick from the mustard in it.  Also, the scallop was seared to perfection. Finally, the mustard seeds and caviar added another textural layer that was so distinct. I'd highly recommend this dish to anyone.

Main Course

Jesse Fox

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. It makes sense, then, that I love smoked fish, so naturally, I had to order the Smorrebrod: the Norwegian word for smorgasbord. This dish was a daily mixture of smoked fish and seafood salads atop that same delicious semolina bread.  When I was there, Chef Lachman prepared a smoked scallop dish, a crab and mustard salad as well as a salmon salad. I consumed this dish in 6 minutes flat. 

The Smorrebrod was excellent; the smoked scallop was a dish I had never had before and it was excellent. The little sandwich I made of it with spinach and pickles was to die for. The crab and mustard salad was also a must-have. While it had a little kick, it was also sweet from the crab and mayo. Finally, the salmon salad, a ubiquitous Northern European dish, was heavenly. That, atop the bread and the pickled onions, combined two diametrically opposed tastes to make my favorite bite of the night.


Jesse Fox

Despite being stuffed beyond belief, I couldn't walk out of the restaurant without trying some dessert. Chef Lachman, along with a waiter, walked over and asked what we wanted.  When I asked which dessert was their favorite, they gave me two separate answers: one said the bread pudding and one said the butter cake. As I sat there weighing my options, the waiter abruptly walked away. Confused, I asked my friend where he went. A minute later, he walked back towards our table with a plate of dessert: a half portion of each recommended dessert to try. He said it was on the house, so we dug in.

The desserts were very different; the butter cake was drier than I thought it would be, but not in a bad way. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and covered in whipped cream. The bread pudding was the winner in my opinion, though. It was really sweet and covered in a custardy sauce. Additionally, it was finished with a dollop of whipped cream and a powdered sugar dusting. 


Overall, this restaurant was an amazing taste of Northern Europe in the heart of South Philly. It combined a great ambiance with delicious food to form one hell of an evening. Definitely make a reservation soon and I promise you won't be disappointed. If Norwegian brunch and dinner is not your thing, try Chef Lachman's other restaurant, The Dutch. They serve a great mixture of Dutch breakfast items like Dutch Baby pancakes and more.