Aquavit's Crayfish Festival may begin this Monday, August 13, but last night we were fortunate enough to be able to preview some of the offerings, and it did not disappoint. Chef Marcus Jernmark was joined by Danish Acme chef Mads Refslund to collaborate on a meal that highlighted the peel and eat crustaceans alongside standouts like Refslund's flavorful barley dish with corn and a decadent charred lardo wrapped Scottish langoustine (currently included on Aquavit's Nordic plate).
The crayfish were refreshing, tender and well-seasoned; the barley cooked slightly al dente to provide a complementary texture to the more delicate seafood (with a pleasant sweetness provided from the corn); and the lardo wrapped langoustine was as buttery and rich as the description makes it sound. Add some glasses of aquavit, beer and singing into the mix, and it becomes clear why August kräftskivas are so highly anticipated in Sweden.
Come Monday, you can head to the East 50's Nordic restaurant to weigh in on the crayfish for yourself, and if you ask nice enough, who knows - chef Jernmark might even treat you to a rousing rendition of the Swedish drinking song "Helan Går." The man is a talented chef, but he may have missed his true calling - the guy can sing (crayfish festival offered August 13-17, August 20-24; $32 for lunch, $42 for dinner; 212-307-7311).