QUOTE(Sneakeater @ Aug 25 2008, 04:34 AM)
It may seem like I'm setting up a straw man here. But if you read the "Danube" thread on the New York Board, you'll see what I'm talking about.
Sneak, you know of what you speak!
Flipping through Vaříme zdravě, chutně a hospodárně
, sort of like the Czech Joy of Cooking (published in English the 1960s as "The Czechoslovak Cookbook"), I'm hard-pressed to find many dishes that really appeal. Many are stultifyingly plain (a recipe for "Ovar" consists of pork jowl, tongue and heart, boiled in salted water, served with "optional" horseradish or mustard; the Roast Pork Loin and Roast Goose recipes have no other ingredients save for salt and caraway seeds; Radish Salad is radishes, lemon juice, sugar and oil; etc.); others would seem to have limited appeal nowadays (brain pancakes, jellied brawn, creamed tripe).Milan's
, the kitschy Slovak restaurant in Brooklyn, was never very good the few times I tried it -- salty, heavy and stodgy. I for one would prefer a "Frenchified" place like Vienna '79, Peter Grunauer's "neue" take on Austrian food that Mimi Sheraton awarded 4 stars to back in 1981
, noting approvingly,
The cuisine that Mr. Grunauer has devised for his restaurant could be described as nouvelle Viennoise, styles that at first glance might seem mutually exclusive considering the lightness of the nouvelle cuisine and the heaviness of traditional Austrian fare. But by lightening up on fats and flour, and by garnishing dishes with an unusual rainbow of bright steamed and sauteed vegetables, Mr. Grunauer and his chef are devising what is virtually an original cuisine. It is true that many of the themes considered new by the French chefs who are credited with inventing France's nouvelle cuisine are inherent in Austrian-German cooking. Among these, the most obvious are the accents of sweet and sour fruit sauces with meat dishes, the use of cool-flavored green herbs and aromatic spices such as dill, juniper and caraway, and the frothy. brightly refreshing eisbecher - a sundae of sherbet, fruits and ice cream.
I wish it, or something like it, were still around here in NY. Austrian-German cooking can be a thing of beauty; two of the most wonderful meals I had in recent memory were at the Michelin-starred 'Caroussel'
restaurant at the Relais & Châteaux Hotel Bülow Residenz in Dresden, and the rustic Hans-Thoma-Stube
("Schwarzwälder Behaglichkeit und regionale Spezialitäten
") in the excellent Columbi Hotel in Freiburg-im-Breisgau. I hit the latter one in springtime and had the Spargelkarte
, which was truly outstanding.