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wallse.jpgI visited Wallsé about a week ago for a special occasion. I’ve reviewed this restaurant twice before (here and here). My enthusiasm for it remains undimmed, so I’ll just get to the food recap.

The four of us chose the five-course tasting menu ($70). There were two choices for each course:

First course: foie gras terrine with plum compote; or cauliflower salad. My girlfriend and I both had the terrine. It’s hard to screw up foie gras—and the restaurant didn’t—but the silver dollar-sized portion was gone all too quickly.

Second course: spicy lobster soup with lobster ravioli; or sea scallop. The scallop, accompanied with glazed onions, was as tender and flavorful as one could want. The lobster soup, of which I tasted a bit, was an unusually spicy preparation, but I thought it worked well.

Third course: Wiener schnitzel with potato-cucumber salad and lingonberries; or fried sweetbread. I was the only one at my table with the guts to try the sweetbread. It was much larger than I remembered it in the past, and lightly breaded, to allow this juicy delicacy to speak for itself. I didn’t try any of the Wiener schnitzel, but everyone else at the table was pleased.

Fourth course: Kavalierspitz (beef shoulder) with creamed spinach, potato rösti and apple horseradish; or grilled venison loin with red cabbage, wild mushrooms and elderberry sauce. Once again, feeling adventurous, I took the road less traveled by—the kavalierspitz. While there was nothing wrong with this dish, frankly it was rather bland. After tasting a bit of the venison, I realized quite plainly that I’d made the inferior choice.

Dessert: Viennese iced coffee with vanilla ice cream and espresso sabayon; or grilled pineapple. Three of us chose the iced coffee. I thought it was just fine—the taste of iced coffee and espresso foam is pretty predictable—but my two companions considered it a dud. The grilled pineapple was also fairly uncomplicated, but I tasted several bites and found it a sweet treat.

Neither dessert option was as impressive as the rest of the meal, but the first four courses were up to Wallsé’s usual standard. I didn’t care much for the Kavalierspitz, but when you are being adventurous, you must be willing to accept some risk. Service was up to the usual standard, and we were quite happy with an Austrian white wine at around $50 a bottle.

Wallsé (344 W. 11th Street at Washington Street, West Village)

Food: ***
Service: ***
Ambiance: ***
Overall: ***

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