It’s after eight in Grand Central, the Metro North train that would’ve carried you home is pulling out of the station. Time to grab some fast food downstairs?
There’s now a better way to pass the time over a meal in Midtown after dark — for those in the know.
Agern, the fine dining restaurant by Danish uberchef Claus Meyer that improbably made its home in the train station last year, is offering a more affordable way to try its “New York Nordic” menu.
Dubbed Agern After Eight, the menu isn’t even featured on the restaurant’s website. But if you know to ask for it, you’ll be whisked to a seat at the square bar in the center of the buzzy dining room (even on a recent Wednesday night) for three courses plus snacks and a glass of wine, all for $75.
Compare that to $155-$175 for Agern’s dinner tasting menus, and it’s an accessible way to try Meyer’s unique blend of Northeastern ingredients (he even employs a forager) crafted with Nordic techniques.
On the night we tried the new menu, sommelier Chad Walsh started the evening with a glass of Robert Sinskey vin gris from Napa, a savory rosé perfect for the chilly weather. He also chose it “to pour one out” for the wineries lost in California’s ongoing wildfires, but generally goes for a wine that ties the meal together.
Sous chef Jorge Pabon introduced each course, starting with Agern’s lauded dark sourdough with butter mixed with skyr yogurt and apple vinegar.
Next came black bass with sunflower puree, green garlic and cucumber that straddled summer and fall just like the weather is now.
Each evening’s menu is inspired by what head chef Gunnar Gíslason likes at the greenmarket that day, and is unique from what’s served in the rest of the dining room.
The main event was slabs of glazed pork belly with cauliflower couscous and an herby puree of dill and parsley, topped with crackling crumble — sweet and smoky, like Nordic barbecue.
The bar-style seating for Agern After Eight doesn’t actually mean sitting around a bar. Instead, you’re treated to watching head pastry chef Isabel Zamora work her magic with caramelized goat’s milk ice cream dotted with grapes and hazelnuts, plus an extra plate of nibbles like beef fat caramels and a mild licorice chocolate truffle.
The experience lasted an hour and 40 minutes from wine to the last bite of dessert. With temperatures trending down, it’s a great time to feel the hygge — whether or not you have a train to catch.
Agern After Eight is available from 8 p.m. to close (10 p.m.) Mon-Sat. There are no set seating times. Enter from the western side of Grand Central at 42nd Street and Vanderbilt Avenue.