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Danube Review

Mike | Dec 23, 2003 07:15 AM

Ate at Danube with my wife on Sat night, had a reservation for 10:45 after theatre. We arrived and were seated in the bar area while waiting for our table. Was seated in the dining room about 10 minutes later. The bar and dining room are both beautiful. I had read it described as "sultry" and found that to be accurate.

We both ordered the tasting menu with wine pairing which had a choice of appetizer, fish dish, meat dish, sorbet and dessert. After ordering, the waiter came back to let my wife know that they ran out of the turbot w/ caviar so he suggested something else. The amuse bouche was smoked salmon and was very good. Wife had kumamoto oysters to start, I had a sampler which included sardine and foie gras. For the fish, we both ended up with lobster, a claw and piece of tail, it was very good. Next, I had the weiner schnitzel which was excellent, the breading was amazingly light. Wife had lamb chops which I was only able to steal a small bit of and was obviously good. For dessert I had the streudel which was excellent, wife had something cholcolatey which I never got a taste of.

While the food was good, the service was spotty. Everyone in the place (staff) is so young, you get the feeling like the boss was away and left his kids to run the joint. Particularly bad was the wine pairing. There was very little explanation of the wines they were serving, they didn't even pour the dessert wine at the table, never told us what it was. There was an austian red poured with the meat course that was very good, the rest were average at best. We didn't even feel that much thought went into the pairing with the various courses.

The waiter would later tell us that the chef (Mario Lohninger) was leaving to return to Germany along with one of the other chefs (Oliver - is he the pastry chef?) and they were preparing a going away party in the bar, so maybe that's the reason for them trying to hustle us out. They were nice enough to invite us to the party in the bar. We got the bill and were not charged for the wine pairing, not sure if this was on purpose, they never said.

We joined them for drinks and the bar and were kinda excited to meet David Bouley, he and the chefs made some brief speeches. It was mostly Danube staff, friends, and us, the party crashers. We had a few drinks and headed out.

Overall, it was good but slightly disappointing. I can only wonder what it will be like after changing chefs?!?! We've been to Nobu and Gramercy Tavern several times, and though the menu at the three can make it tough to compare, Danube was clearly not in the same league.

We've been trying to branch out and try some new places but find ourselves frequently disappointed. We did have brunch at Balthazar the morning after and thought it was awesome, so maybe we'll try that for dinner next time.

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