Seriously, Restaurant of the year?
I saw the choice of Metzger Bar and Butchery for Style Restaurant of the Year and was excited about the opportunity to have Austrian and German fare, Liptauer spread and Leberwurst, in a restaurant. I did have a bit of trepidation, as the chef had a Swedish and not German surname.
The restaurant space itself fills out a nicely renovated old building, with trees were being planted outside and across the street the Cedar Street Baptist Church of God was filling with Thursday congregants.
Having lived in Vienna and Niederoesterreich (Langenzersdorf) for a couple of years I was excited to see Liptauer on the menu. I had previously enjoyed the cheese spread on hearty Austrian Mischbrot at traditional Heurigen wine pubs in Vienna, as a complement to the young Heurigan wines, which I always called diesel fuel for their effects the next morning. An order arrived with toasted baguette slices so luckily I had also ordered the Sub Rosa sourdough bread, with its nice crumb with large sourdough bubbles. After a detailed tasting analysis of the cheese spread slathered over a couple of pieces of bread I concluded that Liptauer was a misnomer and this was actually pimento cheese spread made housewife (Housfrau) or hunter (Jaeger) style with the addition of diced egg, capers and mustard seeds, although this was a new style including lots of vinegar. Liptauer was also ubiquitous in the refrigerated section of grocery stores in Austria, sort of like prepared salsa here. Liptauer traditionally uses sheep or goat cheese, although cream cheese, creme fraiche, yogurt, sour cream and quark can be substituted. Also included is anchovy paste and paprika, which contributes the distinctive color, here provided by cheddar cheese, although there were a few noticeable flecks of paprika color.
Nothing says chef-driven restaurant louder than over-salting, apparent here in the arugula salad.
Also highly anticipated was the Schnitzel. As I transported my sons between Austrian hockey arenas for youth hockey, one tasty snack item before or after a game was a Schnitzel on a bun (Schnitzelsemmel) almost equivalent to a hamburger here. This version seemed to just be a pork cutlet, which had not been pounded thin, and hence not quite tenderized. This was served with roasted potatoes, which were okay and Sauerkraut. I guess the Sauerkraut was just a vinegared red cabbage salad, without natural fermentation, but with lots of prepared vinegar.
And finally the Rumkuchen with bay leaf ice cream. I am not sure those flavors are really complementary, although my poor tongue could barely detect any rum. The minicake tasted overly sweet, in the great American way, like a stale Krispy Kreme cake donut.
So, I think Style has erred in its selection of restaurant of the year.