I stumbled upon Wallsé while looking through the list of restaurants on OpenTable.com, a web service I use for making reservations online for NYC restaurants. Wallsé stood out to me because I've never had the opportunity to try Austrian cuisine before, and also because it is a Michelin one-star restaurant (yes, yes I know I'm a sucker for the Michelin-starred restaurants). I booked us a table for lunch time on a Saturday, and eagerly looked forward to our introduction to Austrian food. (Lately we've been dining out during lunchtime because Zak tends to be a better dining companion early on in the day. I'm amazed that many fine dining restaurants in NYC are baby-friendly, but I feel that most of them would be more accommodating to a baby during lunch time than during the dinner rush.)
Since we knew very little about Austrian dishes, and I didn't want to spend too long making our decision at the restaurant asking too many questions, we had a look the brunch menu available online and googled the names of the dishes beforehand. Hence we knew what we were going to order even before we stepped into the restaurant, which was good because our walk from our downtown apartment to the restaurant had worked up an appetite in us (it took about 45 minutes one way, carrying an 8kg baby in a carrier). Service was great and our waitress (with her gorgeous accent) really looked after us.
After being seated and settling in, I decided I also wanted to try one of the cocktails they had on the brunch menu. Neither of us are alcohol drinkers and we hadn't heard of most of the alcohol names in the cocktails, so I kinda randomly chose the Lingonberry Rob Roy (US$13), a combination of Dewar’s, Sweet Vermouth, lingonberries, and bitters. Apparently they'd decided the day before to remove that cocktail from the menu, but the manager (who was also the bartender) whipped one up for us anyway. It was berry good (sorry, couldn't resist that one). Bread and butter was brought to the table for us to munch on while we waited for our food, and it was hard trying to resist filling up on these yummy carbs.
Complimentary bread and butter; and the Lingonberry Rob Roy coctail:
Rob ordered the Palatschinken with smoked trout, apples and organic greens (US$16). It is like a rolled-up crêpe with a smoked trout filling. Delicious, but this one is definitely a light brunch option or for those with a much more tiny appetite. I got the Spätzle with braised rabbit, wild mushrooms, sweet corn and tarragon, which was really good, but I felt it was a bit over-seasoned with salt. Obviously this was clearly a matter of taste because Rob thought it was seasoned just right. I loved the mushrooms.
Palatschinken; and Spätzle:
For dessert, we chose the Kaiserschmarrn with fruit compote and marinated raisins (US$12) and the Apple Strudel with Schlag (US$12). The kaiserschmarrn was actually on the brunch section and not under dessert, and for a good reason too - it was a huge serving! It was so deliciously eggy and fluffy, and was absolutely divine with the caramelised apple and vanilla ice cream. I loved seeing the tiny black specks of vanilla seeds in the ice cream. The apple strudel was nice, but somewhat overshadowed by the kaiserschmarrn.
Kaiserschmarrn with the caramelised apple and ice cream in the background; and the Apple Strudel with vanilla ice cream in the spoon and cream:
This was an excellent introduction to Austrian cuisine. I would jump at the chance to have Austrian food again if the opportunity presents itself.