As winter approaches, forget about macaroni and cheese and pot
roast. For a stylish twist on comfort food, think
Viennese! Viennese food is intimately linked to the Austrian
climate and its
culture - bitterly cold winters and Vienna's status as a cultural
capital and the
center of a multiethnic Empire.
Our favorite Viennese entrée is
Wiener Schnitzel, the
Austrian relative of Veal Milanese. The dish can be accompanied by
a simple cucumber salad or an Erdäpfelsalat - a delicious mixture
of boiled potatoes, red onions, vinegar, salt, pepper and
oil. Tafelspitz or boiled beef brisket cooked with carrots,
leeks and onions and served with roast potatoes and sour cream
mixed with horseradish is another simple and satisfying
imported from the Hungarians, when accompanied by fresh black or
peasant bread is a meal unto itself.
We recommend finishing off
your meal with that most Viennese of desserts - Kaiserschmarrn
"the Kaiser's mishmash." This dessert was named
for Emperor Franz Joseph. Kaiserschmarrn is a
caramelized pancake made from a batter of flour, milk, eggs,
sugar, nuts, cherries, raisins, and salt that is baked in butter.
The pancake is
then cut into small pieces and topped with either powdered sugar
and apple sauce or cream. Kaiserschmarrn is also
perfect for brunch. Other Viennese sweets include Apfelstrudel,
Sachertorte (a chocolate cake with apricot jam), or
chocolate rolls filled with whipped cream.
Given Vienna's historic role in
Mitteleuropäisch culture, it's appropriate that two of New York's
best Viennese restaurants are linked to revered cultural
institutions. Visit the outstanding collection of Austrian
Art at the Neue Gallerie on 86th and Fifth Avenue before
dining in high fashion in the beautiful wood-lined Café Sabarsky
downstairs (you can also have a Viennese coffee and enjoy an
afternoon piano recital). Across from BAM, be sure to try Thomas
Beisl, an old-world stube-style restaurant that is perfect for a
cold winter's night.