In the late 1960s, there were dozens of Swedish smorgasbord restaurants thriving in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. Today, few remain. One is the Swedish Corner Smorgasbord in Torrance.
The Swedish Corner was opened 30 years ago by Jill and Kurt Elming, who migrated from Sweden armed with a wealth of old family recipes. Taking cue from the booming popularity of the smorgasbord, they opened the House of Sweden in Redondo Beach in 1961. Two years later they moved to their present location.
Paintings of Swedish landscapes and Viking ships decorate the walls of the large room. Two traditional carved wooden horses anchor the focal point of the restaurant--the smorgasbord.
The smorgasbord, a long buffet table, contains 65 dishes at dinner and 45 at lunch. For $7.99, diners can go to the table as many times as they want. (Children younger than 12 pay $5.50; younger than 8 pay $4.50; younger than 6 they pay $3.50.)
One of the highlights is a 30- pound roast turkey, accompanied by cranberries, corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. If these were the only items on the buffet table, the $8 price tag for adults would still be a good deal.
But the turkey has plenty of company, including baked ham, barbecued beef short ribs, roast chicken and the omnipresent Swedish meatballs.
On the weekends, a whole sirloin of beef is carved at the buffet, and a poached salmon is served with dill sauce.
Among the many cold dishes are pickled herring with red onions, a fish salad made with Icelandic cod, and carrot salad with pineapples and raisins.
For dessert, there is a moist Swedish apple cake with a crunchy oatmeal topping and vanilla sauce.
The Swedish Corner Smorgasbord is at 2501 Pacific Coast Highway, Torrance. (310) 326-3792. Open 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.