It's a Date!
by Fiorella Valdesolo, New York Observer contributor, 12/08/2008
5. Cafe Katja
79 Orchard St. • 212-219-9545
To enjoy Oktoberfest year-round, step into pint-sized Austrian tavern Café Katja, where patrons gorge themselves on homemade sausages and raise frosty mugs of beer seven nights a week. For those whose German skills are elementary at best, the menu offers a glossary (note that doppelgänger is not a dinner option, it's just a joke). Start off with a warm, chewy, freshly baked pretzel, a convincing argument against the street cart variety, and some creamy paprika-laced liptauer cheese, a superior Austrian take on orange beer cheese, served here with toasted rye bread. Because everything is better with bacon, there's bernerwurstel, a wrapped hot dog that's also stuffed with emmenthaler cheese. Simpler Krainer sausage, served with a lemony boiled potato salad, is a hearty option, while the pork-phobic can opt for a tangy marinated herring salad, made less healthy by a generous dollop of mustard sour cream. Austrian wines and creative cocktails (made with Schnapps, natch) are available, but beers, like the refreshing clovey Schneider hefe-weisse or dark Gosser lager, rule here. If you're still hungry (unlikely) at meal's end, a slice of golden-brown, lattice-topped Linzer torte crammed with raspberry preserves is hard to say nein.
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