A number of cultures make some type of schnitzel part of their cuisine — you can find breaded meat on local menus in Germany and Austria, Argentina and Uruguay, Korea and Japan, even South Africa and Sudan. And here in New York City, Schnitz (177 First Avenue; 646-861-3923) offers a solid selection of budget-friendly sandwiches featuring one of the planet’s most popular ingredients.
Aside from two items (the pork belly schnitzel–based S.L.T. and the shrimp-filled Lt. Dan), everything on the menu here sits at $10 or less.
For vegetarians, there’s the Yonz ($7), a butternut squash and corn schnitzel topped with jicama-fennel slaw and honey-sriracha mayo. For those who prefer pork, there’s the Grumpy Russian, a pork loin schnitzel topped with greens, pickled cherries, and a gorgonzola spread.
Most of the offerings here, though, offer traditional chicken with a twist. High-quality, hormone-free Bell & Evans chicken thighs are pounded thin, coated in savory breadcrumbs, then fried until golden and matched with flavorful accoutrements. The Bamberg ($10) is topped with briny, pickled vegetables (think cucumbers, daikon, ginger, and shallots), then finished off with a sweet caramelized-onion dijon mustard. The caesar ($10) is topped with black kale caesar, fried egg, and grana padano cheese.
Everything is good, but the sweet onion ($9) is the best; here, chicken meets pickled cabbage, jicama, radish, and cilantro. A roasted beet tzatziki ties it together.
Every sammie is offered on a choice of pretzel hero, brioche bun, or semolina baguette baked daily by Tomcat Bakery. (Go for the pretzel.) You can also choose a “naked” option that forgoes the bread and knocks the price down to between $5 and $8.
And with a brick-and-mortar outpost in the East Village as well as Smorgasburg stands in DUMBO and Williamsburg, there are plenty of opportunities to get in on some inexpensive schnitzel action.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.