Walk into Edi & The Wolf (102 Avenue C; 212-598-1040) and you’ll immediately feel like you’ve stepped into Austria; the wood paneling, plush booths, mysterious plants, and dangling ropes transport you to a European cabin in the woods. The campy décor is an ode to the heuriger, a type of Austrian tavern that serves food and is connected to a winery. Edi & The Wolf isn’t joined to a winery, but it does have an excellent selection of Austrian wine — and a stellar menu of Austrian and New American food, too.
Owners Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban don’t enforce an entirely Austrian menu here, but chef Paul Terceros does stick to some of Austria’s staples, like the liptauer and schnitzel. The Central European influence means that the restaurant’s menu is laden with meat dishes, but it also has its fair share of vegetarian options, exhibiting Terceros’s passion for vegetarian cooking. “I’m from Queens, but I come from a very humble life, a Hispanic household,” he says. “Protein was kind of a luxury on the weekends, so vegetarian cooking is something that I really learned from my parents. And that’s why I try to incorporate it into the menu…just because vegetables are something that are relatively more affordable than certain proteins.”
One meat-free and traditional Austrian dish — which can also be found in Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, the eastern French region of Alsace, and the northern Italian region of South Tyrol — is spätzle ($19), an egg noodle dish that can be served as a side or on its own. Edi & The Wolf serves its spätzle in a cream-based sauce with mushroom and zucchini, garnished with a poached egg, crispy onions, and arugula. The noodles are cooked with an Austrian herb mixture of parsley and marjoram, the latter of which gives the dish a resoundingly floral taste. The onions provide the saltiness and crunch that the dish otherwise lacks, and the whole thing eats lightly, despite the crème fraîche in the sauce.
Herbivores can supplement that main with the roasted beet salad ($13), which features creamy yogurt, crunchy pumpkin seed praline, shaved carrot, and pungent pickled shallots, all tossed in a tangy vinaigrette.