Boterkoek Met Advocaat - Almond Buter Cake

Noord Eetcafe – Going Dutch in Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, Restaurants by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch2 Comments

Scandinavian food is hot right now. There are Maaemo in Oslo and Noma in Copenhagen. Closer to home are San Francisco’s Plaj and New York’s Aquavit. Until recently, Philadelphia was behind on this culinary curve. Not so any more, as Chef Joncarl Lachman has brought the Netherlands to the city of brotherly love with his relatively new Noord Eetcafe.

Noord Eetcafe is a cosy BYOB located at a prime location right next to the Singing Fountain on East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia. This neighborhood has exploded in the past few years, and Noord is a worthy addition to the active streetscape of noted Philly restaurants Fond, Will and Stateside.

The boisterously friendly Chef Joncarl Lachman helms the restaurant, returning home to his native Philadelphia after a successful run in Chicago. Lachman originally planned to open a French restaurant in his native city but, luckily for us, he decided to draw upon his Dutch roots to create food that is both comforting yet original with bold Northern European flavors that are new to Philly.

Inside Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Inside Noord Eetcafe

We didn’t know what to expect during our first visit, though we had heard to order the seafood. (Our traveling memories of Dutch food include Gouda cheese and Grolsch beer.)

We arrived by foot for our easily obtained dinner reservation and were quickly seated in the small dimly lit room. The waitress opened our one bottle of white wine while we read the menu. She was also kind enough to bring out some rustic, charred house-made bread and rye crisps with plenty of garlic butter for dipping.

House Baked Barley Bread and Butter Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

House Baked Barley Bread and Butter

Our First Dinner at Noord Eetcafe

To start, we shared a seasonal heirloom tomato salad as well as the smørrebrød with three types of sandwiches – egg, herring and salmon.

Heirloom Tomato Salad Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Smørrebrød - Open Face Salmon, Herring and Egg Sandwiches Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Smørrebrød – Open Face Salmon, Herring and Egg Sandwiches

Based on recommendations, we both ordered seafood dishes. The beer-steamed Amsterdam style mussels offered a unique twist on the Belgium-style mussels we eat around town, with the dish’s surprising anise flavoring. The choucroute, loaded with seafood, took a different spin on the classic Alsatian pork-based dish.

Amsterdam Style Mussels with Garlic, Fennel, Star Anise and Dried Basil Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Amsterdam Style Mussels with Garlic, Fennel, Star Anise and Dried Basil

Choucroute Shellfish Sautee with Mussels, Clams, Prawns, Braised Cabbage, Pork Sausage & Caraway Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Choucroute Shellfish Sautee with Mussels, Clams, Prawns, Braised Cabbage, Pork Sausage & Caraway

The highlight of the meal came at the end. The almond butter cake was recommended by our server and was utterly delicious.  The dense buttery crumb cake was completed by the addition of caramel, cherries and whipped cream.

Boterkoek Met Advocaat - Almond Buter Cake Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Boterkoek Met Advocaat – Almond Buter Cake

As we shared the dessert, Chef Joncarl chatted with us and shared some wine with us since we hadn’t brought enough for the epic meal. He made us feel completely at home and ready for our next visit.

Our next visit happened sooner than later. We joined two epicurean friends on Labor Day weekend for dinner – their first and our second. We came ready to try some new things, and we brought more than enough wine. Reservations were tighter due to good reviews, so we grabbed the available 9:00 reservation. We met up at Stateside across the street for some very tasty pre-dinner cocktails and wine. This time, there was a delay with the seating, but at least we got to drink some of our wine as we patiently waited outside for our reserved table.

Our Second Dinner at Noord Eetcafe

Since there were four of us, we got to try more dishes. The starters utilized a lot of seasonal vegetables. We were all impressed with the flavors and taste profiles.

Bitterballen - Braised and Fried Pork Meatballs with Nutmeg, Mustard and Salad Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Bitterballen – Braised and Fried Pork Meatballs with Nutmeg, Mustard and Salad

Grilled Head-on Prawn with Citrus Butter, Chives and Dill Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Grilled Head-on Prawn with Citrus Butter, Chives and Dill

Scallops and Caviar over Heirloom Tomato Salad Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Scallops and Caviar over Heirloom Tomato Salad

We opted for land-based protein on visit number two, rabbit and pork, and we loved both. Our only complaint was that the dishes would be even more satisfying if eaten in colder weather. However, the beautiful end-of-summer weather in Philadelphia enjoyed through the wide open windows was more than a token consolation.

Konijn in het Zuur - Rabbit Leg Confit, Smoked Sausage, Lardons, Baby Turnips and Zuurkool Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Konijn in het Zuur – Rabbit Leg Confit, Smoked Sausage, Lardons, Baby Turnips and Zuurkool

Pan Roasted Pork Chops with Boiled Smashed Fried Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, Aioli, Tart Apple and Gastrique Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Pan Roasted Pork Chops with Boiled Smashed Fried Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach, Aioli, Tart Apple and Gastrique

Soft Shell Crabs over Watermelon Salad Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Soft Shell Crabs over Watermelon Salad

We capped the meal with two desserts for all to share. Ordering the almond butter cake was a no-brainer. We also ordered bread pudding made with chocolate brioche.

Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding Noord Eetcafe Philadelphia

Chocolate Brioche Bread Pudding

Chicago’s loss is Philadelphia’s gain. Noord Eetcafe is a fun addition to our great culinary scene. As for the 2foodtrippers, we can’t wait to return in the colder months ahead for the warm hospitality and creative, comforting cuisine. It’s certainly easier than flying to Amsterdam, and it will make the cold winter months more tolerable.

Noord Eetcafe is located at 1946 East Tasker Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148.


Comments

  1. Hi there! Thanks for the follow.
    Having just moved to Philly, I find this post quite useful. I will look for other Philly places to eat as well. And I’m open to suggestions! 🙂

  2. This surprised me! I am a big Dutch fan (not so secret obsessive) yet didn’t think this sort of restaurant existed. The puddings look great. I love your whole site and when I (finally!) book my trip to Philadelphia I will be looking on here for where to visit 🙂
    Amy recently posted…I won flights to anywhere in the worldMy Profile

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