August 17, 2022

Let me begin this review with two truths I am equally adamant about:

  1. Geranium is an incredible restaurant, fully deserving its 3 Michelin stars
  2. This is not the best restaurant in the world

The hype around this restaurant has been fierce, culminating a month before my visit by being awarded best restaurant in the world by the 50 Best List. To me, the top of the food chain (if you will) are restaurants that not only deliver at a consistently high level in terms of food and service (and Geranium does!) but also deliver inventive dishes...flavors and flavor combinations you have never seen before, uncommon technique, etc. You movie needs to be special and different to win an Oscar, and a restaurant should deliver the same to be considered best in the world.

I didn't see it.

What Geranium does deliver is a quintessentially Danish experience from its space in the Copenhagen soccer stadium. I have found the people and culture of Denmark to mimic its buildings and furniture design styles: simple, unassuming and innately beautiful. The clean beauty of Geranium is found start to finish. The space is gorgeous, the food is gorgeous and to a person, the servers are simply one of the most beautiful collection of people around. 

The restaurant has a terrific energy. Our server shared excitedly about what a great place it is to work and how like family they are. She had even vacationed recently with another server. You can feel this comradery. It's more than just "We play for the same team", they laugh and pat each other's back and you pick up on that feeling from start to finish. It impacts your experience. Like Denmark, Geranium is a really happy to place to be. 

Too, the food is gorgeous. Just look at those plates! With a true focus on vegetables (they did away with meat and only serve a small amount of fish throughout), Danish food ideals are clear with each plate. For me, the potato and peas dish was the best of the evening. Super complex, rich and balanced with simply perfect cooking. The bleak roe dish was also superb. There were a few misses too (the mackerel and the ramsom pancake come to mind), which I did not expect.

Service was super friendly and easy. Very few mistakes to find (though the head sommelier regularly checking his watch in the middle of the dining room was a recurring faux pas). Everyone sported broad, genuine smiles. They were happy to be there and it showed.

I had the juice pairing and it was extraordinary. Diverse and delicious. We also witnessed a really special wine bottle opening, which was so much fun. (For supremely expensive wines, you can't risk any part of the cork falling in. So you heat a round branding iron with a blowtorch and push it gently on the neck of the bottle. It melts the glass so you can remove the entire top of the bottle - cork included - and you pour the wine out of the now shortened/cut bottle.) The co-owner provided this service to the table next to ours with such ease and grace, it was really an honor to watch. The entire dining room broke into joyful applause when he finished the process.

With just 13 tables, eating here is special and felt like a privilege - especially so soon after it's #1 status. This is a very difficult reservation and a supremely enjoyable evening! But this is not the best restaurant in the world. Heck, it's not the best restaurant in Copenhagen. (See Noma, Alchemist and even a|o|c.)

My expectations were super high. It comes with the territory of being #1. Outstanding. 3 stars. Worth every penny. 

Just not #1.

Algae tartlet, Creme freshener, smoked and salted herring, dill oil, dill schnapps...
A closer look. This was a play on the classic Danish smørrebrød, which is fish (often fish salad with mayo and heavy dill/herbs) on rye toast
Bleak Roe (like a small salmon or trout), milk, kale and green apple, crispy dashi...
A look at the kale and green apple down below. This was crazy delicious.
Cucumber, oyster emulsion, raw poster, snail eggs...
Adding a juice of oyster water cucumber tarragon oil...
The resulting dish.
Ossetra imperial gold from Bulgaria, pickled walnuts, roasted sunflower seeds, cream dried caviar. This was an add-on and the biggest miss of the night. We just didn't understand what the goal was and the flavors of each element didn't really marry.
Beet root, cherries, powder of dried cherries...
Adding a sauce horseradish and Danish mussels...
The resulting dish. Impossibly beautiful and quite delicious...
Take a look at the knife work on the beet root, each cut to a perfect clover.
Mackerel salt smoke, veggies, charcoal oil. This dish felt and looked "thin". The slivers of mackerel didn't deliver a rich, pungent bite the way one would hope.
I got the juice pairing. This was cucumber, apple and dill and MAN was it delicious!
Rose petal Corgette,goat cheese...
They added an herb vinaigrette using a dandelion.
Green apple, crab salad, kohlrabi, seaweed, finished with cream with caviar. The crab flavor was muted, but that kohlrabi was incredible! The plate contained a design which makes the dish difficult to see/understand...
This is their stock photo of the same dish.
Creamy Danish new potatoes, peas, lovage (a green plant)...
A look inside. This was the best dish of the night. Such complexity from the warm potato, crispy sweet peas and texture from the foamy sauce.
This was present to show us the components of our next dish...
Charred leeks, flowers, onion powder, picked ramson (like a wild garlic)...
Adding leek sauce...
The resulting dish. So beautiful you didn't want to touch it! That fried cracker may have been the best part of the dish. Great plate of food right here!
Ramson pancake, shaved truffle, onion ring. This was a miss for me. The pancake was dry and needed more flavor and the components didn't marry.
They burned a lavender bush at the table to add aroma for our next dish...
Lobster sauce with lobster oil, accompanying...
Lobster yakatori. This lobster was stupid good. Perfectly cooked and season strong and well. The sauce (prior picture) was not heavy (as it looked) but rather more like a foam, which did compliment the lobster quite well.
Whenever giant truffles arrive, you know it's going to be a good one...
Shaving an insane amount of truffle into the dish...
It was a lot!...
Adding an infusion of celeriac and black truffle. No silverware, you drank the soup out of the bowl. The balance of black truffle was plentiful and perfect. A very generous dish. Served with...
Crispy cheese sticks.
Palate cleanser dessert. Frozen Yogurt, foam, wood sorrel, lemon verbena. I always love these.
The simple start of the next dessert...
Super fun and playful delivery of these components...
Yogurt mousse, rhubarb compote, granite, meringue. This was outstanding...
A look inside. Really delicious, well balanced and playful.
2 chocolates. Jerusalem artichoke (which worked great!) and (dark) chocolate liquid.
Creamy and crispy white chocolate, roasted pumpkin seeds, carrot twill, sea buckthorn. I really wanted to like this more than I did.
Creamy licorice, raspberry gel, mulberries, mint, pine flower. Nice finish.
Making tea the authentic Japanese way.
Rose cream chocolate
Potato cake, plum liquor
His 3 Bocuse D'Or trophys (the world Olympics of food)

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