Went to Cafe Steinhof for dinner last night to satisy my craving for Sauerbraten, was I in for a big surprise.
The Sauerbraten was a strange looking slab of meat, nothing like what Sauerbraten is suppossed to look like. The taste of the dish was even worse, watered down, accompanied by a strange aroma. The Rotkohl (red cabbage) didn't exibit any of the sweetness combined with the slight touch of tartness it should have.
We got a hold of the owner, who at first remarked that I was the first person to complain about this dish in three years. Nevertheless, he took it back to the kitchen where the cook and he tasted the dish, and came to the same conclusion.
I ordered the Schnitzel which was okay after I had added a substantial amount of salt. The cucumbers in the cucumber salad were sliced too thickly, and tasted like they had been marinated in some sort of strange salty brine for days.
The Sauerkraut was the only highlight of our dinner, a nice sauer taste, not overpowering with a touch of smoked flavor thanks to the bacon used in the dish.
Now desert was a joke, we had the Topfen Cheese Crepes. It was nothing but a goey mess which seemed to have been heated in the microwave oven. Ususally, Topfen Cheese Crepes should have a nice golden-brown color, ours looked pale,and was topped with some kind of curdled sauce.
The service was comedic!!! Our waitress came to take the order, and brought us our beer. That was it. It was very crowded, and I have a lot of compassion for waitstaff when I notice that they are in "the weeds."
But since she was either chatting with her collegues, and standing at the bar with her head resting in her hands, I didn't get the impression that she was stressing out. Not once did she check back to see if everything was okay, and one of her collegues took our desert order. The coffee which we had ordered with desert never came. Instead she came with two beers after about 15 minutes, and seemed kind of ticked when we told her that we hadn't ordered any beer.
Conclusion: A greatly disappointing experience.
I am wondering what is going on there because I usually find the food a Cafe Steinhof very tasty.
A person who has never had the traditional Austrian dishes, and eat there for the first time must come away with a sense that Austrian food is terrible.
I have to give the owner some credit here: he did comp my Schnitzel and the Sauerkraut which he didn't have to do.
So, I have two choices here, next time cook Sauerbraten myself which is very time consuming since it needs to be braised for three days, or go to "Loreley" in Manhattan which is more pricey, but never disappoints me.