Tuesday, May 10, 2011

West Village meets Austria.

I have a bit of a soft spot for Austrian food. I've never met a schnitzel I didn't at least enjoy, and I can't think of a better way to take my espresso than with a dollop of whipped cream (sweetened a bit and named schlag by those crazy Austrians) right on top.

And so it's a bit shocking, really, that I hadn't been to Wallsé until this past Saturday. In my defense, I have visited its uptown sister establishment (Café Sabarsky) many a time. After all, it is but a short walk from my home base, where Wallsé involves a bus ride and a subway trip. Turns out, though, that it's worth the trek. (As my friends Nicole, Amelia and Anna swore it would be - credit where it's due, kids.)

Caroline and I sat outside for most of our lunch; we had to dash inside before dessert to avoid a passing rain shower. Before that, though, we sat on Washington Street enjoying the people watching and generally feeling good about being New Yorkers. The West Village has a way of doing that to a person.

We kicked off with cocktails; I ordered the Ginger Highball, mostly for the rye, while Caroline went for the Blood Orange Cosmo. Both were tasty, if a bit sweeter than my usual fare. We were incredibly boring when it came to our food - we both ordered the exact same thing. Wiener schnitzel.

After all, what's not to love about a cutlet covered in delightful breading, perfectly fried and served with a potato-cucumber salad and lingonberry preserves? As it turns out, absolutely nothing. I mean, there's not a lot more to say. The breading was well-seasoned, which meant the whole thing felt good, as opposed to simply naughty. The salad was creamy but tangy, which meant it felt like real food as opposed to something a neglectful cook might throw together five minutes ahead of a potluck. And lingonberries are awesome. In short, this dish is a great blend of some of my favorite things: crunchy breading, warm food with cold, creamy food with crunchy, sweet food with salty.

Caroline insisted on trying the sachertorte, which was lovely, and far less dry than most of the sachertortes I've encountered have been. I, meanwhile, indulged in an einspanner, which is a fancy way of saying "double espresso topped with sweetened whipped cream." I know, right?

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