Those of you who have read my earlier posts around December, I wanted to go to Café Sabarsky for lunch. However the extremely long wait due to the fact that it was 12:30 and it was the holiday season, it was packed with people and I was about to faint from hunger. So, today I managed to get to eat there for lunch (finally!).
I arrived there at 11:05 and I was hungry (I ate breakfast at 6 AM, mind you). Basically, you just enter the doors to the Neue Gallery and they check your bags and you enter Café Sabarsky on your right.
Surprisingly, it was not as busy as I expected it to be. I just took a seat since there was no maître d’ to sit anyone. The café was half full. Most of the diners were locals, two tables were filled with ladies who lunch or have a late breakfast, and a few tourists. The atmosphere really feels like an Old World, European (it’s Austrian here) coffeehouse that feels elegant yet casual; not a stuffy, cold place that makes you feel unwelcome or feel like your being patronized on.
When the waitress handed out the menu to me, I already know what I wanted to eat since I have been staring at the menu on their website that past weekend. I just glanced on it one more time to make sure it exists. By the time my waitress came back to my table, I told her I’ll start with their coffee (“kaffee” is written on the menu) and the spätzle.
When my coffee came in, it was served in a silver tray. I remember reading this from various reviews from the past years but I find it very unusual to be served like this but it is certainly most welcome. I should note that this cup of coffee costs $5. Yeah, it’s pretty darn expensive (and it’s not a latte or cappuccino) but it is certainly bold and strong tasting that it could almost pass off as a double espresso.
A few minutes later came in my plate of spätzle ($15).
To those of you who don’t know what spätzle is, it’s basically a German dumpling but Wikipedia has a better definition of this. This is Austrian comfort food to me. It’s soft, creamy and cheesy; mixed in with corn, peas, and wild mushrooms. This made me forget the bone chilling, cold that exists outside the very windows I’m looking out from my seat. I would almost make this analogy of a gourmetized, European version of macaroni and cheese (I know it isn’t, but it feels and tastes that way).
After I finished my spätzle, they cleared my table and another server handed me the same menu but opened to the dessert page. I looked at that page and I was stuck at the many choices to pick for dessert. I know most of these cakes and pastries are delicious, as many restaurant reviewers from the past years claimed that they are. Eventually, I went for the traditional German-Austrian cake, the sachertorte ($7.50).
Ok, a sachertorte is basically a chocolate cake filled with apricot jam or in this case here, apricot confiture, topped with a smooth chocolate ganache (Once again, read from Wikipedia for a better description or history of this cake.). When I took a bite of this cake, it was really good. The wonderful semisweet chocolate ganache topping (about 60%) meld with the moist chocolate cake and apricot confiture really well. The apricot was a nice tart contrast to the sweet chocolate. I thoroughly enjoyed this cake. I just wished I have room for more dessert! There’s so many good pastries to choose from. Take a look below for a glimpse of other desserts on their dessert bar or table.
I certainly felt full once I paid my check and stumbled my way out the door to 5th Avenue. Instead of taking the subway downtown to Midtown, I chose to walk 30 plus blocks to walk off my meal, even though it’s 30 degrees (or about -1 degree Celsius) but I needed the exercise.
1048 5th Avenue (off 86th Street)
New York, NY
“Isn’t that one delicious looking slice of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen? “
Oh Gawd.. YEEEEEES!!!
Your whole story about the cafe is really nice, but the only thing stuck in my head is that cake! i’m in love with it :) if i lived in ny, that would be a must-to-eat (as soon as possible).
I’ve also been craving wintery food – okay, so its not as cold in LA, but still! Stews, pastas, cheeeeesey. oh, that looks good! I’ve only had spätzle once, and that was at Balthazar (very good!) but have been looking out for other places. thanks for the tip :)
In case you’re interested, the former Chef de Cuisine of Cafe Sabarsky now caters and does cooking parties and private lessons (though he doesn’t bake). His website: http://www.peteseats.com and blog: peteseats.typepad.com
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