One Beard Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 246-4532

First off, I know what you're thinking. "IKEA?! For dinner?!" See, IKEA is a whole day affair. Anyone who thinks that they can simply run inside this place for fifteen minutes just to pick up cheap wine glasses is fooling themselves. Five hours after you first walked in, despite being surrounded by sofas, you're tired and irritable and hungry. Shopping for affordable home decor is a full time job. Between testing chairs and measuring tables, opening drawers and choosing dishes, the whole day has gone by. Luckily for you (or in this case, me) IKEA happens to have a restaurant.

There are three IKEAs in the NYC metro area. Elizabeth, New Jersey; Hicksville, Long Island; and Red Hook, Brooklyn. Bro and I decided to do this shopping at the Red Hook one, since it's the only one we haven't been to. And get this. It's exactly like the other two. Who'da thunk?

The restaurant is pretty much a big cafeteria, and the food awaits (pre-made) your decision whether or not to eat it. But it's better that your average soup kitchen, with high-end-ish entrees and desserts. The restaurant even opens before the store itself does so that early-to-rise shoppers desirous of beating the crazed mob of thrifty furniture-goers can have a nutritious start to their day.

Bro ordered the Apple Glazed Salmon with mixed vegetables and mixed greens side salad with Italian dressing. The salmon was sweet, albeit a little on the fishy side, but Bro said that it was far better than he thought it would be considering they make ten million of these each day. I went for my IKEA staple of Swedish Meatballs, served with mashed red potatoes, mixed vegetables, lingonberry sauce and gravy. I love Swedish meatballs and these were no exception. The mashed potatoes (with skins) were actually very good, as were the mixed vegetables, though they were obviously frozen as opposed to freshly steamed. And of course, you can't go wrong with having a roll to mop up the extra gravy. We also ordered a side of French Fries for no reason at all. They were surprisingly good. Actually, they were probably the best fries I've had in the past few months.

Everything, while not about to win any culinary awards, was tasty, especially considering that this is pretty much a mall cafeteria. The one downside was that the checkout line was somewhat slow and, coupled with the low temperature of the dining area itself, the food chilled more than I would have liked between picking it out and getting to a table.

Finally, dessert. Bro's dessert was the Chocolate Overload Cake, a rich mouse layer cake that was moist and better than most restaurant chocolate cakes I've had in recent memory. And given that it cost $2 instead of $8... My choice was the Diam Torte, an almond crisp cake with a chocolate coating served with a little chocolate nougat candy. It reminded me of a large almond Kit Kat bar and, with coffee, was a very pleasant way to finish up rigorous and frustrating day of shopping. A day of shopping in which I bought absolutely nothing... sigh.

Our meal of two entrees, three extra sides, a bottle of Kristian Regale sparkling black currant juice, a soda, two desserts, and two coffees totaled $30 and we didn't even have to tip.

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