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Last night, I had a wonderful dinner at Danube. A vendor was buying, and he asked if I had a favorite. I approach my restaurant life a little differently. An invitation to dinner is opportunity to try someplace I’ve never been. Danube came immediately to mind.
This is one of those restaurants that hardly ever attracts an unfavorable comment. It is almost universally adored, and for good reason. From its Klimmt-inspired décor to its impeccable service, everything at Danube is well thought out and smartly executed. Whether it’s a romantic occasion, a business dinner, or a birthday celebration, Danube delivers a memorable experience.
The amuse bouche was a tiny salmon square on a bed of avocado cream. To start, my dining companion and I both chose the what I called the double foie gras ($19), which came with a conventional seared Hudson Valley foie gras and an odd confection called “Crème Brûlée of Foie Gras with Harvest Corn Goulash.” If you love foie gras, then twice as much of it is heaven. My only complaint is that the crème brûlée was at an in-between temperature: it had been allowed to cool a bit too long.
I almost never order Wiener Schnitzel, but I figured that if any restaurant was going to make it memorable, Danube would. (I also concluded that if you’re at an Austrian-themed restaurant, you should try some Austrian food. My colleague concluded the same, and ordered the goulash.) The Wiener Schnitzel came with austrian crescent potatoes, cucumber salad, and a lingonberry sauce. I must say that I was initially underwhelmed, but the dish grew on me, and I was sad to take the last bite. The light breading was just perfectly fluffy, the veal succulent and tender. Still, part of me wondered if this really deserved to be a $30 entrée.
Desserts at Danube are mostly Austro-Germanic specialities, such as Caramel Strudel and Sacher Torte. I tried a pina colada ice cream dish, which is not shown on the restaurant’s website, and I can’t quite recall how it was put together. After this, a plate full of chocolates arrived, which I struggled (in vain) to resist.
Danube offers a vast array of menus. As at many uscale restaurants, the first page shows the tasting menu (five courses, $75; or, $135 with wine pairings). The nine-course degustation is $95. A four-course seasonal menu is $55. There are three à la carte sections of the menu: the Austrian specialties, “Modern Eclectic,” and the chef’s weekly market choices. Appetizers are $9-19; entrées are $26-35.
You’ll pay handsomely for your experience at Danube, but it is well worth it. A glance at the bill showed a bottom line of $270, which included more wine than was strictly necessary. But then, there’s no point in doing Danube half-way. Go and enjoy yourself.
Danube (30 Hudson Street at Duane Street, TriBeCa)