Happy Day After Thanksgiving Chowhounds.
So, now it's time to give thanks to Danube for another wonderful dinner (also our 2nd time there for the Thanksgiving holiday--put it on your calendar for next year!)
Everything was perfect, starting with the famous Danube cocktail (Austrian sparkling wine with elderflower syrup) and ending with the tart, yet sweet, lemon tea cake to take home to reinforce the good memories)
We (Mom, sister and I) were very early but Walter (the manager who has the best memory of all your accumulated favorites over the years--he's a highlight of the restaurant--David, don't ever let him go!) had saved for us a very cozy, spacious table for 3 so we were seated right away.
Our captain (egads-I forgot his name--he's so charming and sweet) welcomed us warmly (ok, you get the point that we are regulars but Danube and Aureole get highest marks for recognizing our continued business--other restaurants do not acknowledge so readily our repeated business and thus, Danube an Aureole keep us coming back for more!)
As many of you know, the decor is spectacular. It has to be the most beautiful dining room in NY. While opulent, it is also warm and intimate. It's probably one of the smaller dining rooms in NY but by far, the richest (out does Alain Ducasse). I have been to Austria many times and I always feel I have been transported to Vienna each time I walk into the room.
OK-probably wondering, what about the food.
While many of the items on the special 5 course menu are Danube favorites, each was at its spectacular best. And a few worthy additions here should be on the regular menu, if not already. The menu us $85 plus $70 for wine pairings--very generous pourings--no stinting here (I did this but Mom and sis stuck to the Danube cocktails--and an occasional taste of my wines-all perfectly paired). All is worth the price for a special evening out with Mom--at 81, a dinner like this keeps her coming back for more so spend and share when you can).
There are 3 options at each course (2 at dessert).
The amuse is a small cube of smoked salmon with creme fraiche--very nice (I do miss the 3 tasting amuse of years ago--only way I would ever eat a sardine but times do change-boohoo)
I had the sashimi bluefin and hamachi tuna, a solid entry on the daily menu. It was perfectly tasty and light for what was to come in later courses. It is served with tasty onion, pumpkin seed oil and sesame mustard dressing. (Gruner Vetliner)
Sis had the butternut squash soup with the pumpkin seed oil and saffron creme fraiche. Ooh la la. This was so yummy. More than a soup, it was thick and rich.
Mom had the famous Austrian cheese ravioli with corn sauce and mushrooms. Very satisfying.
For the next course, I had the "gently heated" salmon with an apple puree and horseradish chive sauce (the horseradish may be a relatively new addition to the wonderful menu standard--it's a keeper). Lip smacking, yet almost refreshing light. (sorry forgot the wine--maybe a sauvignon blanc?)
Others had the unbelievably delish maine day boat lobster with sunchoke, mango, mushroom and saffron curry broth. (btw-Danube should be awarded highest honors for it's consistently spectacular lobster preparations through the years!--sorry Bouley restaurant).
We spared Tom Turkey and all 3 ordered the Rack of Lamb (this I recall, white Burgundy poured). This was rich, meaty and perfectly prepared (btw--you get to take home the menu, that's the reason for the details given here--not that I can recall details after 4-5 glasses of wine).
The lamb was served with Cippolini onions, potato puree, and barley.
Forgot to mention the wonderful breads (please, can I have more sir?). Salt stick, pretzel and cheese rolls.
Afterwards, to help cleanse palates, we are served the elderflower sorbet with elderberry gelee and mandarines (mandarin sections?? or some fruit crossbreed?)
Next course dessert was a choice of chocolate hazelnut souffle or a traditional Austrian dessert of Liwanzen with Powidl (don't ask for the translation--just order it and enjoy--kind of like a pancake with fruit--I may be wrong here so excuse me).
Instead we opted for a preorder of Salzburger Nockerln (sp?)--the mile high peaks of eggwhite souffle and berries. Each was served with prune armangnac ice cream. Also, as a "gift", apple strudel for us to share. I enjoyed a healthy glass of beerenauslese.
While enjoying our coffee and tea, a crumb cake tasting and petit fours are served.
Service all night was caring and attentive. Never over fussing or wanting of anything. There is always someone around if you need anything (never did).
Clientele is warm and friendly too. You can't help but smile at your table neighbors in recognition of a wonderful evening out shared by all.
Thank you Danube for another memorable evening out. We will be back very soon. I hope you Chowhounds enjoyed this summary and look forward to seeing you online and at Danube.
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