If You Like Art:
Located in TriBeCa, the former French bistro is decorated with art and vintage film posters. The food is a mix of Austrian and German with an emphasis on sausages. Meat features pretty heavily on the menu, at least for entrees, so vegetarians may be harder pressed to find much here.
Items on the menu I’d recommend include the Butcher’s Platter, which includes roasted pork shoulder, bratwurst, smoked pork, beer braised sauerkraut, and Brezn dumpling, and the currywurst. For dessert, order a slice of the rich pumpkin spice cake, made with pumpkin seed oil mousse and cinnamon ice cream.
139 Duane St. between W. Broadway and Church St.
Wallse could very well be mistaken for a contemporary art gallery with the collection of paintings on the walls. Highlights of the menu include Spätzle with braised rabbit, wild mushrooms, and sweet corn, Boiled Kavalierspitz with root vegetables and apple horseradish, and a custardy desert called Salzburger Nockerl with huckleberries and sorbet.
Meals cost in the mid-$30 range, desserts around $14, and side dishes around $9, but it is worth it to me for the prompt service, the immaculate presentation, and the tastiness of the food.
344 W. 11th St. at Washington St.
If You Want Something Out of the Ordinary:
The restaurant is named for their use of only the freshest seasonal ingredients. This Austrian restaurant and wine bar takes traditional Viennese fare and puts a contemporary twist to it. For instance, while schnitzel is usually cooked by browning it, Seasonal deep-fries it for a new spin on the dish. Deep-frying makes everything better, doesn’t it?
They have a $27 3-course lunch menu which gives patrons four different appetizers and entrees to choose from as well as an array of prix fixe and a la carte deserts. I’d suggest the Pochiertes Ei, a soft poached egg with lobster, hen, and pumpernickel, then the Entenbrust, a combination of duck, red cabbage, kohlrabi, and poppyseed.
While their dessert menu is impressive, trust me – you should go for the Kaiserschmarrn: caramel and apple compote on crumbled pancakes.
132 W. 58th St. between 6th and 7th Ave.
This restaurant blends Swiss and Italian cuisine with traditional Austrian fare. While you can sit at a table with crisp white tablecloths and perfect place settings, there’s also the bar with complimentary chips and breadsticks.
What this venue is known for is their weekend brunch menu, which features a full entree, coffee/tea, and a choice of Bloody Mary, Mimosa, or Champagne for $14.75 from 12-3:30PM. If you’re going for dinner, order the veal bratwurst with sautéed onions or the veal dumpling in mushroom sauce.
315 W. 48th St. between 8th and 9th Ave.
If You Want to Hear Live Music
Radegast Hall & Biergarten
You have two choices of ambiance here: the sophisticated atmosphere of dim-lighting and sleek, rounded wooden furniture, with small candles set up around the restaurant, antique chandeliers, and an art wall. Or the heated biergarten, which is my favorite, with its wooden benches and tables and retractable roof. I like to relax there with an imported beer and watch the grill man do his thing.
Start with the Homemade Papardelle, made with wild mushrooms and truffle oil then move on to the Hungarian Goulash and Dumplings or one of their famous sausages. Since you’re at an Austrian biergarten, order a Gosser brew on draft to pair with your meal.
Radegast Hall & Biergarten also offers a full schedule of live jazz and brass bands. Click here for a complete listing of cover-free events.
113 N. 3rd St. at Berry St., Brooklyn
If You’re Going on a Date:
This small restaurant is located in the heart of the Lower East Side and it can be hard to score a table there, so show up early. Don’t take this as a sign of snobbery, however, as it’s a warm and friendly place. Just not a big one.
My favorites on the menu include the homemade liverwurst with red onion jam, Austrian meatballs, and the cheese spatzle with caramelized onion and chives. They also have an impressive selection of Austrian beers and wines. If you’re looking for a pilsner, try the Jever or the Lagunitas. Lager-enthusiasts should opt for the Stiegl.
79 Orchard St. between Broome and Grand St.
Edi and the Wolf
Brick walls, wooden tables and ceilings, and flowers hang everywhere. I like the Landjager to start, which includes cured dried Austrian sausage, mustard and pickles, and then move either the Alsatian flatbreads, which include items like pears, horseradish, blue ricotta cheese, and cipollini, or the slow poached farm eggs, which include pumpernickel, bacon, spinach, mushrooms, and potatoes. They also offer a late-night menu from 11PM-1AM, which can be helpful after the bars for any upscale munchies.
102 Avenue C at 7th St.