On a dark and gloomy Sunday night in Manhattan, heavy showers punctuate my arrival to the residential streets of the West Village, more precisely the corner of West 11th St and Washington, the location of the Austrian restaurant : WALLSE
Wallse is a 15th century village along the Danube (about 80 miles from Vienna) and this is where Chef and Owner of Kurt Gutenbrunner was born.
As soon as I entered the restaurant I was struck by the simple and classic elegance of the place. Everything from the gorgeous wood bar where a dressed up yet discreet crowd sips on cocktails to the beautiful dark velvet banquets opposing the painted white brick walls which gives you a feeling of relaxed, über chic. The great design is complimented by the ambient music playing in the background. All of these elements come together to make for a very mellow and enjoyable dining experience at Wallse.
How can I not mention the cozy lighting that will still let you contemplate and admire the private collection of artist/filmmaker Julian Schnabel. This collection includes three of his own paintings as well as pieces by Alfred Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger, Alejandro Garmendia and Dennis Hopper. The photographs are by Daniella Stallinger.
As the friendly manager leads us to our table with his subtitled and delicious Austrian accent, I started taking in the mellow mood of the place for a few minutes. Tables are spaced out to give you the right amount of privacy that allows you enjoy your very own moment. I started out with a luscious apertif of Sekt by Grüner Veltliner Szigeti. The champagne tasted so good as it rolled down my tongue and swished down my throat ever so gently indicating the great quality.
The cuisine at Wallse is a modern take on classical Viennese cuisine. I started with an unexpected smoked trout consommé followed by a very tasty slow cooked Scottish salmon with sour cream and cucumber. When in Austria, do like the Austrians. So of course I opeted to have Riesling, specifically the Steinterrassen which complimented the salmon so nicely. For an entree I opted to try the Lobster with pomegranates and braised fennel in Pernod paired with a red St. Laurent, Goldberg wine. My dining partner decided to take the traditional route and had the Wiener Schnitzel with potato-cucumber salad and lingonberries paired with what she referred to as a “lovely” red wine of Blaufränkisch, Königsberg .
She mentioned that her wiener schnitzel has a perfect balance between a warming comfort food and a sophisticated dish with a central European taste and that the berries brought a sweet and sour taste to the meat. I just had to try a bite. Lo and behold she was correct. An undercooked or overcooked schnitzel can make the difference between a good or bad dish. This schnitzel was absolutely cooked to perfection.
I finished the dinner with another tasty Viennese specialty: the apple strudel. This classic desert gained popularity in the 18th century in the Austro-Hungarian Empire consist of a savory mix of grated apples,sugar,cinnamon,raisins, and bread crumbs and is complimented here with Tahitian ice cream and nüss streusel. A very well executed desert that will give a perfect and light finish to your dinner experience at Wallse.
Wallse restaurant is a “must-visit” restaurant for locals and NYC visitors alike. The food, ambience and service all come together to make for an authentic yet cool dining experience.
344 West 11th street
New York City 10014