Porridge is having a moment in the culinary consciousness. Brave new savory versions—cumin scented millet for one—abound, according Jill Neimark’s wonderful NPR piece. It’s also been having a moment for me personally as I’ve turned to congee for comfort and sustenance.
Tired of congee and oatmeal I decided to give the Grain Bar at Klaus Meyer’s Great Northern Food Hall a try last week. After a rather hellish commute I was more than ready for a comforting bowl of mush. I bellied up to the grain bar and perused the six-item menu, which was heavy on the oatmeal and also featured barley. I almost skipped the grains in favor of and egg sandwich, but then I saw the øllebrød ($7). Unlike everything else on the menu it was a cold porridge made with rye bread and sea buckthorn among other things.
Those other things included a cloud of vanilla foam that sits atop a verdant study in brown and green. The green comes from grains of tarragon sugar, which along with small bits of caramelized rye provide a nice crunch. Cold porridge is a hard sell, but Meyer’s gussied up spin on beer soaked bread gruel, with its sweet nuttiness and sour bursts of flavor from the sea buckthorn berries, won me over.
Eating it made forget all about the commute. I felt like a character in a whimsical Danish fairy tale. Such are the effects of tarragon sugar! In any case, I could go for a bowl right now.
Grain Bar, Great Northern Food Hall, Grand Central Terminal