Oh, schnitz! Did you know that Wiener Schnitzel does not involve any wieners at all? I always assumed it had something to do with frankfurters or “wieners” of some kind, but it’s actually named “Wiener” Schnitzel for the place it was created–Vienna, Austria. Schnitzel itself is a piece of cutlet meat–be it beef, veal, pork, or turkey–that is tenderized and thinned with a hammer, coated in bread crumbs, and fried. Us Americans might be more familiar with the Italian dish Piccata, which is served in the same manner, but the Austrian-born schnitzel did it first. And unlike a Chicken Piccata, Wiener Schnitzel is made from veal, and served with potatoes, parsley, and a lemon butter sauce, not pasta and tomato sauce. It’s an entirely different animal…literally!
Wiener Schnitzel has a huge history and pedigree, and all the critics agree, there’s really only one place in New York you should sink your teeth into some schnitzel today. The small, unassuming Seasonal restaurant in Midtown may seem run-of-the-mill in terms of their decor, but their food is all authentic, traditional Austrian cuisine, and it’s out of the park good. As their name suggests, they only use seasonal ingredients on their menu, but rest assured, the Wiener Schnitzel is always at the top of the list. Their super-thin, grass-fed veal cutlets are breaded with ultra-fine crumbs, making the breading puff like an elephant ear around the cutlet as it’s fried. The fried taste doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the meat, like many lesser varieties. Seasonal serves their schnitzel with a mound of fluffy potato salad and a crisp, cool cucumber salad, the respective creaminess and crisp tartness of the salads evenly balancing out the cutlet. Considering the New York Times AND New York Magazine have both dedicated articles celebrating this very dish, I don’t know why there’d be a reason to try Wiener Schnitzel anywhere else!
132 W 58th St (between 7th Ave & Avenue Of The Americas)
“Truly great Wiener schnitzel, one of our aged gourmand uncles liked to say, should always have “a bit of cloud” between the meat and its puffy, golden, crisp skin. And that’s what you get here. Only instead of the usual flap of too-thin, undertenderized calf meat, the co-chefs, Wolfgang Ban and Eduard Frauneder, use meticulously sourced Grade A grass-fed veal. They serve the dish the traditional way, with a mound of creamy, faintly sweet potato salad on the side and a pot of lingonberry jam. And did we mention the crust, which is neither too greasy nor too thick, and encases the tender, perfectly cooked veal in a cocoon of crisped bread crumbs and butter?”–New York Magazine
“Rather than the flattened, breaded emblem of Germanic taverns everywhere, Seäsonal’s schnitzel arrives puffed up, as if it had been inflated with additional flavor, and perhaps a stiff helping of dignity as well. Though prideful, it is crisp and tender, tasting clearly of veal, and served with an orb of cucumber salad that offers more intensity than any cucumber has a right to, and potato salad that, alas, makes up for the boldness of the cucumber with reticence.”–The New York Times
“I find the quintessential wiener schnitzel irresistible. The perfectly breaded paper-thin veal cutlets, served with lingonberry, potato and cucumber salads, are airier and fluffier than most. It’s an elegant meal, with no trace of grease, even though the schnitzel is fried. Plus the cold potato and cucumber salads makes it overall very refreshing — such a classic and winning combination!”–Find Your Craving
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Course #2 was my first ever Wiener Schnitzel! I love veal and was pretty excited. And what a work of art! The thin, delicate, puffy fried layer collapsed as I attacked the thing in pursuit of the perfectly cooked veal lying underneath, and the reward was just glorious. And the ribbons of cucumber, citrus-y potatoes, and lingonberries on the side complemented the veal nicely.”–Yasmin C.
“We stuck to the traditional stuff for our entrees: Wiener Schnitzel. It was perfectly done. Crisp but not greasy, lovely potatoes and lingonberry jam. Somehow they made a really heavy dish into something so light and delicious that didn’t make me fall into food coma at the office afterwards. Plus, our waiter was Austrian and very informative about the dishes–my dining companion didn’t know a thing about the cuisine and made her very comfortable with it.”–Jordan S.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!