Monday, September 15, 2014
At the Danish Athletic Club
A late birthday outing: supper at the Danish Athletic Club. I was having such a good time that I forgot to take any pictures, except for this sub-par departure shot.
What a warm welcome newcomers are given here! This was quite a lively Sunday scene, with a lady accordionist playing old-time favorites to an elderly crowd in the banquet hall, and a smaller number of mostly older people eating in the dining room. Middle-aged visitors may feel young again. Oh, but it's a friendly place! Diners wandered from table to table, greeting each other and catching up on news, and one woman even came over to see how we were doing - "First time here?" - and how we liked the place. "You girls enjoy yourself!"
The club is a decorative mid-twentieth-century period piece, and all the lovelier for that. The bar's jukebox selections stop at the 60s, and are heavy on Presley, Sinatra, the Everlys, Tom Jones. The paneled dining room is softly lit and comfortable. On the screen between dining room and bar a fleet of full-sailed Viking ships sets course. Next door, a century of club memorabilia, with photos of fifties gatherings in formal dress, teams of strapping broad-cheeked footballers, maidens in traditional costumes, and even a Brooklyn Andersen mermaid, blonde and beaming. Trophies, proclamations, the stiff smiles of Danish monarchs. A glorious community history.
The meals here are generous, and the prices moderate, with a three course meal running under twenty dollars. By the time we ordered the kitchen was all out of fiskeboller (fish balls), and the lapskaus (stew) was not available. Next time! Two people could have eaten my giant plate of pork loin, prunes and sauerkraut, served with a nice side helping of home-cooked carrots, turnips and potatoes, and the frikadeller (pork and veal meatballs) were a huge portion of meat. Embarrassed, we were too full for dessert.
Service here is just about the nicest you'll get anywhere. The waitresses are kind and attentive, and patient in explaining any menu item. You will be urged to return. You might be new here, without even a trace of Scandinavian lineage. but you will not be made to feel an outsider.