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GERMAN or AUSTRIA? Any good ones left in NYC?

few Dec 26, 2009 03:47 AM

I have a hankering for some good body warming German or Austrian food when I go in to the city next weekend?

any left ? please say there is....
and I meant to type AUSTRIAN...LOL

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  1. thew RE: few Dec 26, 2009 04:26 AM

    heidlberg in old germantown 86th and 2nd

    1. Steve R RE: few Dec 26, 2009 06:20 AM

      C'mon, it's Xmas.... go to Rolf's. The food's more than ok and the scene is worth every penny.

      1. o
        orthorunner RE: few Dec 26, 2009 06:44 AM

        Have not been, but Seasonal is a well-regarded Austrian resto just south of Central Park. Friends have said the wiener schnitzel is fantastic.

        1. r
          RGR RE: few Dec 26, 2009 06:53 AM

          I highly recommend Seasonal Restaurant & Weinbar, on 58th St., b/t 6th & 7th Avs. Traveling well under the usual restaurant radar, it's truly a hidden gem that has been awarded a Michelin star -- justifiably so because the Austrian cuisine served there is superb! Service is welcoming and attentive, and the space has very pleasant ambiance.

          Photos of our meal can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          6 Replies
          1. re: RGR
            buttertart RE: RGR Dec 28, 2009 10:56 AM

            On your recommendation we went to Seasonal for lunch Saturday and had one of the best restaurant experiences of 2009 there. The service was impeccable and the food utterly delicious. We had the (extremely softly) poached egg with mushroom foam, the salad with goat cheese, the veal cheek goulash with spaetzle, and the Tafelspitz, which was in such a good strong oxtail broth I asked for more. It was divine and came with two sauces, roesti potatoes, and very creamy puréed spinach. Desserts were v good too, a gingerbread semifreddo with blood orange and sugared almonds, and the chocolate hazelnut soufflé cake. Exactly what we wanted to eat on a dreary wet day. Very glad I saw reference to it here.

            1. re: buttertart
              Steve R RE: buttertart Dec 28, 2009 11:04 AM

              Yeah... but did it have lots of lights, like Rolf's does???

              Ok everyone, mea culpa. The season got to me. I agree, the food at Rolf's isnt the thing. But the lights are worth a drink or two, no?

              note to self -- try Seasonal.

              1. re: Steve R
                buttertart RE: Steve R Dec 28, 2009 11:35 AM

                No, very understated posh-ish modern decor. (Great wine list too, we had a very nice Austrian pinot noir.) Lights do have their attractions, especially now. And if Rolf's still has goose, we're there (once we've put paid to the one I cooked the 25th).

                1. re: buttertart
                  RGR RE: buttertart Dec 28, 2009 01:01 PM

                  buttertart, Thanks for reporting back. I'm thrilled that you loved Seasonal. :)

                  Steve R,

                  I did wonder about your view of Rolf's food as it seemed strange that you would say it was good when that's certainly not the concensus.

                  I do think it's refreshing when a restaurant eschews the seasonal ornamentations (pun not intended). We had lunch at Tocqueville last week, and there were no decorations in the elegant dining room, imo, one of the most beautiful in NYC. (There were tiny pointsettia arrangements on the few tables in the bar area.) We got to talking with Chef/owner Marco Moreira, and when we mentioned it, he said that many patrons had actually thanked him for not having Christmas decorations in the dining room.

                  Absolutely, you must go to Seasonal. And, btw, I first read about Seasonal some time ago on MF when Sneakeater posted about it. :)

                  1. re: RGR
                    buttertart RE: RGR Dec 28, 2009 01:08 PM

                    I'm always interested in what you have to say about restaurants, RGR. And the room at Seasonal - as is Tocqueville, where we had thought to go for Saturday lunch before reading about Seasonal - is beautiful (and undecorated for Christmas, very restful).

                    1. re: buttertart
                      RGR RE: buttertart Dec 28, 2009 02:02 PM

                      I'm flattered, buttertart. Thank you! :)

          2. Bob Martinez RE: few Dec 26, 2009 08:05 AM

            Lederhosen is surprisingly good. At first it appears to be a place that primarily is designed to appeal purely to beer drinkers but I've been very happy with the food. It can attract a youngish crowd so the back room can get a bit loud. I prefer to eat at the bar. http://www.lederhosennyc.com/

            Loreley is also pretty good. They do all the classic dishes well and the atmosphere is pleasant. Nice beer selection. http://www.loreleynyc.com/

            Cafe Katja has a limited menu but it's good at what it does. It attracts a slightly older crowd (30s and 40s vs. 20s) so it's quieter than the other 2 places without being dull. It's a small place that can fill up so get there by 7:00. http://www.cafe-katja.com/

            Rolf's was recently written up on Eater and the reviewer was't happy. His experience matched mine during my 2 visits. You'd do a lot better at any of the 3 places I recommended.

            Cafe Katja
            79 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002

            39 Grove St, New York, NY 10014

            7 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

            1. ChefJune RE: few Dec 26, 2009 09:15 AM

              Cafe Sabarsky in the Niew Museum (across from the Met) Food is delicious! Very Viennese.

              1. thew RE: few Dec 26, 2009 09:37 AM

                cafe d'alsace is supposed to be good too

                10 Replies
                1. re: thew
                  RGR RE: thew Dec 26, 2009 09:51 AM

                  While the food at Cafe d'Alsace is good, it's a French brasserie, not German or Austrian.


                  1. re: RGR
                    thew RE: RGR Dec 26, 2009 10:09 AM

                    i was of the understanding it was alsace food - which is a region w/ both french and german influences

                    1. re: thew
                      RGR RE: thew Dec 26, 2009 12:58 PM

                      True enough about the region that has changed hands between the French and Germans several times. With regard to the restaurant, it's considered a French brasserie and, while there are a few German-style dishes, the menu heavily tilted towards the Gallic side of the culinary divide.

                      1. re: RGR
                        gutsofsteel RE: RGR Dec 28, 2009 03:06 PM

                        It is Alsatian. Hence the name Cafe d'Alsace.

                        A list of Austrian restaurants in NYC is not complete without Wallse and Blaue Gans.

                        Heidelberg and Rolf's both serve lousy food in kitschy wornout environments.

                        1. re: gutsofsteel
                          bronwen RE: gutsofsteel Dec 29, 2009 09:11 AM

                          Yes, I would definitely recommend Wallse - terrific place

                          1. re: gutsofsteel
                            MMRuth RE: gutsofsteel Dec 30, 2009 05:05 AM

                            Heidelberg - I've had lousy meals there, but I've also had decent (not amazing) meals there. The beef consomme is terrible. The wurst are pretty good, and my husband loves the Schweinshaxe and the Eisbein. I like the potato pancakes, and wish that the applesauce were better. I lived in Heidelberg as a child, and sometimes Heidelberg just hits the spot. Plus, I get the guy to play Lili Marlene for me, at least once. About once a year, on a cold winter's night, I like to go there.

                            1. re: MMRuth
                              buttertart RE: MMRuth Dec 30, 2009 05:19 AM

                              There is something about old-timey German food that hits the spot once in a while (my husband's father was 1st generation German-American and the food featured in my husband's childhood in the Midwest). We've eaten at the Heidelberg and enjoyed it as well.

                              1. re: MMRuth
                                Up With Olives RE: MMRuth Dec 30, 2009 09:44 AM

                                Agreed on Heidelberg's potato pancakes. I also like their herring app, and the tray of bar sandwiches.

                                1. re: Up With Olives
                                  MMRuth RE: Up With Olives Dec 30, 2009 10:26 AM

                                  Yes, I've had the herring too and liked it. And I just like the little salads that come with things - shredded carrots with raisins, cabbage, etc.

                                2. re: MMRuth
                                  jwg RE: MMRuth Dec 30, 2009 09:53 AM

                                  We've been going to Heidelberg for years with both German friends and our German au pairs. None have ever complained. It's not the most fashionable or up to date restaurant, but the various schnitzel, Schweinshaxe, and wurst are tasty. The spatzle is too.

                                  And for very tasty wurst and german potatoes, try Hallo Berlin.

                      2. jon RE: few Dec 26, 2009 09:46 AM

                        just ate at lorely a few weeks ago and the food was pretty good. warm pretzels with mustard was great and so was my plate of bratwurst with saurkraut. the potato pancakes were also excellent.

                        i also happen to love blaue gans in tribeca. their weiner schnitzel and jaegerschnitzel are awesome.

                        1. ellenost RE: few Dec 26, 2009 05:27 PM

                          Highly recommend both Seasonal for Austrian food and Heidelberg for German food. If you're downtown you should check out Wallse and Blaue Gans (both for Austrian food).

                          1. Wilfrid RE: few Dec 26, 2009 08:01 PM


                            Some other recommendations here - Heidelberg, Rolf's - are just nostalgic. Loreley is a pub. Wallse is fine, but that's about it

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Wilfrid
                              carcrash RE: Wilfrid Dec 27, 2009 08:15 AM

                              Wouldn't put Heidelberg in the same category as Rolf's, which I understand is pretty much just for kitsch. Everything I've had there (particularly the schnitzel) is very good, if not haute cuisine.

                              1. re: carcrash
                                ellenost RE: carcrash Dec 27, 2009 05:19 PM

                                Heidelberg serves good food in a kitschy atmosphere. I've heard that Rolf's food isn't very good. I love Heidelberg's potato latkes and Jaeger Schnitzel.

                            2. u
                              Upperwestsider RE: few Dec 27, 2009 10:05 AM

                              As noted elsewhere, Blaue Gans is an excellent restaurant and will provide exceedingly good "body warming" food. So, and even more so, will Wallse (you can save some $$ by doing lunch instead of dinner; Sat & Sun only, I believe). Kurt Gutenbrunner is a terrific chef (runs the kitchen at both). They will both, however, leave a decided draft to your wallet.

                              1. c
                                chow_gal RE: few Dec 27, 2009 12:34 PM

                                Definitely enjoyed Blaue Gans in Tribeca for Austrian. To me, Rolf's is borderline inedible.

                                1. f
                                  few RE: few Dec 28, 2009 04:56 PM

                                  WOW ! what a great set of responses! I am most excited - - Seems like Seasonal gets the consistent highest marks!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: few
                                    Bob Martinez RE: few Dec 29, 2009 05:25 AM

                                    I'd check the prices before you go. They're significantly higher than a number of other places that were recommended. It may well be worth it (I haven't gone) but if you're used to standard German cafe prices you may well get a case of sticker shock.


                                    1. re: Bob Martinez
                                      buttertart RE: Bob Martinez Dec 29, 2009 05:34 AM

                                      The 3-course lunch at Seasonal is $27.00 and is well worth it, but of course it's not budget dining.

                                  2. p
                                    patriciarichter RE: few Dec 29, 2009 05:40 AM

                                    Blaue Gans, Wallse are both excellent!

                                    1. n
                                      neh RE: few Dec 30, 2009 10:41 AM

                                      Blaue Gans is a definite favorite. Great food and beer! Also, Tribeca is such a fun neighborhood to meander though before or after.

                                      1. d
                                        daisy326 RE: few Dec 30, 2009 03:27 PM

                                        Looove Heidelberg! I second that recommendation. The beer is great (and not too expensive considering it's imported and on draft). I'd recommend the cheese spaetzle, the potato pancakes or the cucumber salad. My boyfriend loves their pork shank and if you feel that you're up to the task of putting down enough meat to feed 4 people in one sitting- it's worth it.

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