Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Strangely New York: Embracing the Crunch at Schnitzel & Things

Dining in New York you can now find Schnitzel at Schnitzel and Things
By Mitch Broder

There are numerous unforeseen benefits to our economic collapse, and among them has been the New York City debut of accessible schnitzel.

There’s scant hope that you could approach a counter and order fried cutlets in five flavors today if Oleg Voss had not lost his job as an investment banker in Vienna.

But he did. And he had trained at the French Culinary Institute before he’d attended the NYU Stern School of Business. So he decided to start a restaurant and he saw opportunity in schnitzel. He and his brother Gene launched a food truck called Schnitzel & Things, and now they’ve parked a quick-schnitzel restaurant by the same name.

The schnitzel comes in traditional veal, less traditional pork, and least traditional chicken, cod, and eggplant. The things range from the traditional Austrian Potato Salad to the Schnitz Burger with Cheese and the Yukon Gold French Fries, because this is America.

Because this is America, the brothers strategically Americanized. They don’t want you to worry if, say,  you don’t know what schnitzel is. “The challenge was to take this ethnic food and to make it cool,” Oleg explains. “To make it so the masses identify schnitzel with us and not with the Bierhaus down the street.”

The small interior leaves room for big flavor at Schnitzel & Things in New York City
They do have bratwurst, and they serve things like sp√§tzle on special, but they’ve left the full German menu to spots like the Bierhaus down the street. The gold’s in the schnitzel, Oleg says, because it’s Americanly crispy and crunchy: “Ultimately, it’s a familiar flavor because it’s a fried piece of meat.”

Hearing that, I couldn’t resist. I had the chicken schnitzel combo. I had it with the Austrian  Potato Salad and the Roasted Beet & Feta Salad. As you can see, the fried piece of meat overshot the takeout container. I dined in. This was just too much schnitzel to carry around.

The schnitzel was addictive. It tasted like chicken coated with potato chips. The potato salad was pleasantly cool and chunky. The beets were beets, which was a strike against them, but they were made palatable by the feta. I dipped the chicken in the Spicy Sriracha Mayo, which I believe is from the Thai region of Austria.

The place makes a tasty meal, and clearly others agree. The brothers already have plans to open several more stores. Oleg could be the king of fast-casual schnitzel — and all because he aimed high.

As he recalls: “I just didn’t want to work at a restaurant peeling potatoes and onions.”

When dining in New York you can't miss Schnitzel & Things

Break tradition at Schnitzel & Things, 723 Third Avenue, between 45th and 46th streets, New York City.

4 comments:

  1. Mmmm....Schnitzel in a styrofoam container.....very untraditional.....kinda like you! Thanks for the find but sorry to hear you are not a fan of beets!

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  2. Which just goes to show that "Cheese and Things" would be a real winner. Cheese seems to make all things palatable! Yummy post.

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  3. looks great, I walked past here while in the city one day but did not get in. then I was walking on Madison and saw the truck but it wasn't open yet. seems like I will try this eventually and can't wait!!

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  4. Cod and eggplant...I'm in! Hope they fry in veggie oil and have a separate fryer for the fish and vegetables. Spaetzle on Special...Sweet! (or should I say "savory")!

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