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Klee Brasserie?

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I was wondering if anyone can offer their thoughts on this place, as I have a reservation there on Saturday. I didn't find a lot about in a search of previous threads, so I was hoping that anyone's who's been there might care to weigh in here. I'm a big fan of Austrian/German food, so the look of the menu is promising.

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  1. I've been interested in the restaurant myself. Please post a review.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mahler5

      I haven't eaten at Klee in about 1 year, I used to live around the corner. I've had some good food there, but nothing that was really earth shattering. The chef is a nice guy, and the food is well executed. Quite honestly, I really prefer Trestle on Tenth on the corner of 10th Ave and 24th street.

      1. re: mahler5

        We had a great time at Klee. The staff was incredibly nice to us, and the atmosphere was quiet and relaxed despite the fact that it was busy.

        We started off with a round of cocktails. I had the "suedtiroler": sparkling rose, Campari and gin (I think). I'm a huge Campari fan and really liked the unusual twist of the rose. One of my DCs had the excellent sangria and the other had bottled beer.

        Although we'd made a reservation, we enjoyed sitting at the bar so much, we asked to have our meal there, and were pleasantly obliged.

        For starters we tried the mini lobster rolls, which weren't bad, although in retrospect the seemed a little ill-chosen on our part as it didn't particularly compliment the rest of our meal, which we chose from Klee's special Oktoberfest menu. I had the veal meatloaf with mushrooms (moist and flavorful), and my DCs had the mac 'n' cheese with spaetzle and pumpernickel crush (very unique and delicious) and the Wiener schnitzel (a nice, lighter take on its traditional variant, although the breading didn't seem to stick very well to the meat). We also had a side of the Swiss chard with melted cheese. Overall the food isn't what I'd call traditional, it was indeed very much in the spirit of Austrian/Alsatian cuisine.

        For dessert, we tried the special for the evening, which was a Black Forest cupcake with a cherry milkshake. Each was quite an amazing concoction in its own way, and although we were dying to know the secret contents of the milkshake, the bartender's (also our server) lips were sealed! We were also comped a dessert made of peanut butter and chocolate that was equally exquisite, but the particulars of that dish escape me at the moment. It was a velvety peanut butter custard or pudding with chocolate on top, if memory serves.

        It was a great experience overall. Although, dessert aside, the food wasn't earth-shattering (but delicious nonetheless), we were well taken care of, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place for quiet, laid-back evening out.

        -----
        Klee
        200 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      2. Hubby and I went to Klee last night. Interesting vibe, crowded space, brilliant cocktails - we had the margarita with elderflower liquor and a campari-based cocktail that made me rethink my opinion of campari as a summer-only drink.

        The service was spotty, and the food was good though not fabulous. I had the fried chicken that beat Bobby Flay. Good, compentent, but I like dark meat fried chicken and lots of it. This was two medium-sized pieces of good, breaded white meat, but to me it lacked ooomph. Hubby had the Octoberfest sausages. Very good, yummy homemade mustard, but again not fabulous. The bread is delicious, as is the three-sorbet dessert we ordered. I would go back, but frankly, I'd prefer to sit at the bar and drink those marvelous cocktails.

        This was our first time at the restaurant, though, so take that into account. For Austrian food, I really like Thomas Biesl in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

        1. I love the place. They're so unpretentious and genuine, and the food's so tastefully rendered and unshowy, that it's easy to miss just how deftly conceived and prepared it is. Everything's done with high-end continental/Austrian fastidiousness, but it's got soul. The best of both worlds.

          I crave their pizza (see large photo here: http://www.jimleff.info/pizza.jpg ) even more than the stuff at Company (it's actually not pizza; it's an Austrian specialty that my friend David explained to me about...perhaps he'll chime in and clarify). I've never tried their fried chicken, but would love to (not surprised it "lacks oomph", btw; this is a refined place with soul, not a soulfood place with refinement). The macaroni and cheese, so original, so keenly balanced, deserves legend. Great wine list.

          I find the service really great, but it's a genuinely personal sort of service, as opposed to the slightly-aloof-but-mock-friendly service of, say, a Danny Meyer place, and I know some people prefer a bit of distance.

          It's cool, quiet, and laid back for lunch; probably my favorite place for a business lunch in town right now. Not cheap, but by no means expensive.

          I can't recommend the place highly enough.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jim Leff

            http://www.alwayshungryny.com/thought...

            1. re: Jim Leff

              I have eaten at Klee several times and I find the food delicious--both inventive and well-prepared. But do not forget the wine list! For a small, reasonably priced restaurant, I think Klee does an impressive job with their wine selections-none of the run-of the mill wines you see on every "homogenized wine list" in Manhattan--there are some really interesting choices there (and healthy selection of half-bottles) to satisfydiverse tastes. And, I find the staff overall fairly knowledgeable about their list--which is refreshing to say the least!

              1. re: catandmat

                Yeah, I mentioned the wine!! Good beer list, too. And cookies. The place is soulful AND thoughtful.

                I don't know why more chowhounds don't love this restaurant. I don't know why it's empty at lunch. I think we get the restaurants we deserve...

            2. I ate at Klee for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and can see the different perspectives reflected in this discussion. From my perspective, I thought the food was tasty and well executed and the service good. Although it's not the type of place I feel the urge to rush back to, it absolutely is on my list for when I want an earnest, unprentious neighborhood place to enjoy a comfortable, relaxed and unrushed meal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Blumie

                "it absolutely is on my list for when I want an earnest, unprentious neighborhood place "

                I would describe it more as "earnest, pretentious".

                Klee has both the refined meticulous nuances AND the earnest soulfulness. Super rare combo. But hybrids confuse people...which is why, for example, the fried chicken disappoints for not being more blammo. It's not a blammo kind of place. People pick up a few cues and figure it's one way or the other. The subtleties of what's going here - what makes Klee unique, rather than forced into one or the other cubbyhole - are wondrous, but also keeping the place from catching on. Again, we get the restaurants we deserve.

              2. My boyfriend and I had a truly awful brunch experience at Klee today. We waited ages for anyone to take our order, refill coffee, get the check, really everything. The food was mediocre and the service was gruff and forgetful. (In their defense, the people at the table next to us were truly awful to them.) Though we'd heard good things, we will never, ever go back.

                -----
                Klee
                200 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011