Danish Artistic Sandwiches in Mind-Boggling Variations

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Those who think a sandwich by any other name is still a sandwich should make a quick stop at the Copenhagen institution Restaurant Ida Davidsen.

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The restaurant is a showcase of the national open sandwich called smørrebrød. Ida Davidsen, the smørrebrød queen of Copenhagen, runs the fifth-generation family restaurant, now more than a century old. The menu of 178 variations, said to be the largest in Scandinavia, is the size of the Copenhagen telephone directory. The sandwiches are displayed in a glass case, and like everything in this aesthetically sensitive country, each is carefully and artfully prepared.

Quantity is important, but quality and freshness are paramount. The choices are delectable, if somewhat improbable: tongue with fried egg, pigeon with mushrooms, and pureed smoked salmon head the more imaginative offerings.

More pedestrian palates will pick up at the choice of shrimp, liver pate, roast beef, and chicken.

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Even the Queen of Denmark has her hankerings for the occasional takeout and has had royal occasions catered by Ida Davidsen at her residence, serving real Danish artistic sandwiches.

Written by Tor Kjølberg