Entries in Daniel Angerer (2)


Brats & the Little Cheese Pub

Note: Brats closed in May 2011, and the Little Cheese Pub expanded into the space. The Little Cheese Pub has since been sold.


Brats and the Little Cheese Pub, though technically separate restaurants, might as well be discussed together. They have the same chef, occupy adjacent Chelsea storefronts, and opened within three months of one another.

And they share a theme seen a lot lately, common to places like Macbar, the Meatball Shop, and Crif Dogs: a narrow focus on many versions of just one dish: wieners and sausages at Brats; cheese at the Little Cheese Pub. The chef, Daniel Angerer, has a serious, full-service restaurant, the Austrian-themed Klee Brasserie. I found it underwhelming, but that was four years ago, and much may have changed since then.

That Angerer would open a cheese pub is ripe with irony, as he is best known for putting a recipe for breast milk cheese (his wife’s) on his blog. After the story was picked up in the Post, the health department told him to take the human cheese off the market. He later denied he had served it in his restaurant, but Gael Greene got a private tasting:

Surprise. It’s not the flavor that shocks me—indeed, it is quite bland, slightly sweet, the mild taste overwhelmed by the accompanying apricot preserves and a sprinkle of paprika. It’s the unexpected texture that’s so off-putting. Strangely soft, bouncy, like panna cotta.

If you’re not paying close attention, you could easily walk into the Little Cheese Pub expecting Brats, or vice versa. Indeed, I’d already taken a seat, and had to ask the server why the Cheese Pub menu seemed to have none of the wieners I was looking for.

The Little Cheese Pub resembles a conventional wine/beer bar, with its dark wood faux rural chic décor. There are several long communal tables and a number of two-tops with bar stools. You can order composed cheese platters, cheeses à la carte, or one of a half-dozen varieties of mac & cheese. The French Man Mac ($13; below left), served in a hot skillet, is better than it looks, with morbier cheese, balsam onions, and a hefty duck meat ball.

At Brats, there are eight sausage and wiener entrées, all house-made, $6.95–10.95, from a conventional bratwurst to a French duck sausage. An entertaining illustrated menu shows photos of the dogs, alongside models in seductive poses, with balloon quotes showing “wiener” double ententres.

The server said a similar menu is on the way for the milkshakes, which include such flavors as vanilla with bacon confetti, PB&J with honey popcorn, and the Volcano (not for children), infused with tobacco.

I ordered the Dragon (above right), a pork sausage with pickled kimchee cabbage, pea shoots, and a spicy sriracha mustard—not your standard hot dog, but I enjoyed its slow, tangy burn.

There’s a variety of side dishes (none of which I tried), and a generous selection of wines and beers. They’re all under $10, which makes sense, bearing in mind that this is basically an upscale hot dog stand. Most of the seating in the narrow space is at the bar.

Brats (362 W. 23rd St. between Eighth & Ninth Avenues, Chelsea)
The Little Cheese Pub (362½ W. 23rd St. between Eighth & Ninth Avenues, Chelsea)


Klee Brasserie


Note: Klee Brasserie was supposed to have closed in July 2011, to make way for an Austrian wine tavern, or heuriger, operated by the same husband–wife team. Instead, they sold the restaurant and will be opening a new, currently unnamed project elsewhere.


Klee Brasserie (the first word is pronounced “Clay”) opened late last year in West Chelsea. Many of the dishes, like Chef and co-owner Daniel Angerer, hail from Austria. But Angerer has gotten around, working for Joël Robuchon, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Bouley, and others. The restaurant is not purely Austrian, but draws its influences from just about everywhere.

klee01a.jpg klee01b.jpg

The interior make-over is lovely. If only the food were more appealing. Black Bean Soup ($8) was more like bean-flavored water: it had practically no texture, and was over-salted. Swordfish Steak ($26) was dominated by barbecue sauce. Good thing too, as the fish itself was both ropey and cold. The bed of spinach was the best thing about the dish, but you don’t pay $26 for spinach.

klee02.jpgMy girlfriend ordered the Lamb Shank ($23). She was surprised to find that it didn’t come with any shank. It seemed more like Lamb Osso Buco without the bone. That said, there was nothing else objectionable about it.

I didn’t note the description of the palate cleanser (pictured right, absurdly out-of-scale), but it was better than either of the dishes I paid for.

The wine list was a definite asset, with a nice list of half-bottles available. We didn’t want to drink much, so we had a nice half-bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape at just $27. The bread service was an asset too, with three warm home-made slices served on a warm stone, with a small jar of soft butter, probably also home-made.

Service was mostly okay, but we had a seriously annoying waiter. His leering comment as he dropped off the dessert menus, “Now, let me lead you into temptation,” was typical. It also took him something like ten minutes to uncork the wine, a task that I shouldn’t have thought was that difficult.

Klee hasn’t had many reviews. In a blog preview in the restaurant’s early days, Frank Bruni also found the swordfish cold, so apparently they haven’t solved that particular problem.

This was a restaurant I wanted to like, but it was merely humdrum.

Klee Brasserie (200 Ninth Avenue between 22nd & 23rd Streets, Chelsea)

Food: fair
Service: okay
Ambiance: good
Overall: fair