Bryggen 11
N-5003 Bergen

The Rents jetted off to Norway a short while ago, and returned with an odd suggestion: write about Bryggeloftet & Stuene. See, while eating out in Bergen, they thought it would be fun to whip out a camera, shoot a few dozen photos and start taking notes. Somehow, they even got a whole menu out the door with them. I don't normally (well, ever) write about restaurants that I haven't personally eaten in, but this time, for those who gave me life (and an education and money and a car and a sofa to crash on when I'm wasted at 3am and don't want to commute all the way home), I will. I guess we're even?

Bergen, Norway's second largest city with just under 400,000 people, was founded by traders and fishermen. The Bergen waterfront, where much of this trade took place, has since become a World Heritage Site. Bryggeloftet & Stuene (B&S) is a century-old restaurant on that waterfront and occupies a building which used to be a warehouse for merchant ships and living quarters for their crew. These days, the area is a bit more touristy than it was four hundred years ago, but Dudeman assures me that Bergen's idea of touristy is quite different from Times Square's.

B&S focuses much of its menu on meats which you and I, here in the States, might not eat all too often... like reindeer. Sitting inside of a quaint northern-European-style row-house, and replete with fireplaces, dark woods, paintings, heavy candles and bric-a-brac, it's akin to eating inside of a log cabin ski lodge that's just itching for an Oktoberfest party.

The first appetizer to arrive at their table was a Wood Pigeon special (so pardon me for not having the Norwegian name). Neither Dudeman nor Shirnk thought it was especially impressive. Too bony, too gamey, too small, too tasteless. And when they peeked at the menu later during their trip, they noticed that it had been removed from the menu. Up next came the Bryggecarpaccio Av Rokt Hval mit Cumberlandsaus, thinly sliced smoked whale in a Cumberland sauce. Dudeman didn't like it and doesn't recommend it. He found it chewy and tough. "If it wasn't cut paper thin, it would be inedible. I can't imagine working on a whaling ship and having to eat this all the time." Shrink thought the exact opposite, finding it tender and delicious and wishing it were legal in the States.

When dinner arrived, the Rents stuck with dishes that would be rare, at best, on this side of the Atlantic. Dish one was Elgmedaljong, a fillet of wild elk (ie: someone shot it in the woods, not on a farm) with vegetables, pureed peas, apricot and with a balsamic syrup. Both enjoyed the dish, saying it was comparable to a fillet Mignon, but because it's a gamey meat, not quite as tender. Dish two was Reinsdyrfilet, reindeer steak with vegetables and red onion chutney. Unlike the elk, it's a farmed meat and was, according to my parents, incredible. Like a expensive cut of beef, it was melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Dessert, it seems, knows no borders and was pretty similar to what you could get here in the Big Apple. Shrink tried the Konfektkake mit Sorbet, a chocolate layer cake, and Dudeman ordered the Eplekake mit Vaniljeis, an apple pie with vanilla ice cream. The chocolate cake was smooth and tasted just as one would expect it too. The apple pie, while enjoyed, was found to be somewhat on the doughy side.

The staff were very helpful (everyone speaks English there) and friendly despite being grilled by my parents about the history of the building, the restaurant and Norway. All in all, the Rents said that they had a wonderful experience eating at Bryggeloftet & Stuene and highly recommend it to all of you who plan to venture towards the North Sea.

Two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, two drinks (the best pear cider Shrink's ever had, so I hear), tax (25% VAT), and tip came to roughly $200.

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