A pink slab of smooth pate, ringed in gently sweet aspic, would look at home on an elegant buffet; a couple of plump browned sausages on carrot-laced sauerkraut prove homey and strapping. Of the sandwiches, I'm most drawn to crawfish, fennel and bell peppers bound in lemony mayonnaise and tucked inside a baguette.
Todd Kliman praises Leopolds, but I wonder just how good the food is that it makes it worth some of the service problems he mentions.
The Austrian dishes, for all their innate heartiness, are no less finely wrought. The veal schnitzel, a winter dish if ever there was one, comes across as the very embodiment of spring, lightly breaded and quickly fried and bedded atop lemony field greens. There’s no sense in trying to lighten up a crock of spaetzle, and the kitchen doesn’t try; but it does create more than the usual cheesy, gooey interest by caramelizing the thick, nubby noodles, scenting the dish with a generous pinch of nutmeg, and applying a finishing crunch of crispy fried shallots. And the oxtail soup is constructed from a clear broth that somehow sacrifices none of the richness of the Old World original.
I wish I could write sentences like that.