September 8, 2006
On August 25, 2006, Linda and I dined at Danube, 30 Hudson Street, David Bouley’s neue-Austrian theme restaurant. Our apéritif was a generous glass of the house Grüner Veltliner. The bread tray was passed, which included yummy hot bretzels with caraway and salt, as well as poppy seed buns. But the amuse-gueule went far away with a white tomato basil foam and a squid tempura on peach confit. My first course was chanterelles nested on a steamed egg with some very nice chopped truffles on top; this was served with a bowl of lamb tripe braised with mustard seed. Linda had sweetbreads on pea purée with a veal stock sauce, garnished with chanterelles. My main course was roasted pork loin nested on braised chopped cabbage with light caraway dumplings; Linda’s was venison on red cabbage with potato purée on the side. The pre-dessert was sour cream sorbet with elderberry jelly and raspberries. For dessert I had a peach tart and Linda a caramel strudel. We had a bottle of 2002 Paul Achs Pinot Noir. This Austrian wine had a nice varietal flavor, with very little oak, but was a bit thin. I had a glass of Tokaji with the dessert. While we tried to stick to the Austrian theme, it represented less than half the complicated menu, which varied over a wide range of trendy and more ordinary techniques. On one side of us there seemed to be foam on every plate. On the other, which included some elderly Austrians, there was traditional goulasch and Wiener schnitzel. There is a “tasting” menu of four courses with a limited choice for $85, or $155 with wine pairings. The décor is a flamboyant faux-Viennese, including big Klimt takeoff panels. It works quite well, particularly in the little bar through which one enters. This is one of two David Bouley restaurants with two stars in the Michelin Guide (ie: their idea of one of the eight best restaurants in NY) and high ratings in Zagats. While we enjoyed our meal and the ambiance, we didn’t think it came close to that level. (We had the same reaction to the cuisine at Bouley two years ago, although the ambiance there was not as gemütlich as at Danube.