I may forget a plot line or a character name 9 times out of 10, but I’ll never forget a scene from a movie that involves food. A standout instance is in the film Inglorious Basterds, when the protagonist, Shoshanna Dreyfus, is being eerily interrogated by her father’s murderer, Cristoph Waltz. To subtly indicate that he’s aware of her true identity as the only one who escaped death on her family’s dairy farm, he proceeds to order her an apple strudel with extra cream and a glass of milk, forcing her to taste as she quivers in fear. As uncomfortable as it is to watch, it has instilled in me a permanent craving for apple strudel. It looked so delicious – fresh, warm, perfectly flakey – never before did I really like it, but now, it’s one of my favorites.
This memory came to mind when my friends Lauren and Austin and I whisked uptown to Austrian cafe Cafe Sabarsky to end our day at the Whitney. After waiting in a short line, we entered the old school, cafeteria-like space and sat a table with a view of the delicious Austrian pastry-filled counter. The place is inspired by the traditional Viennese cafes that birthed so much beautiful art and literature in the early 1900s, and it truly brings you to another era and continent as a result. The authenticity of the food is unquestionable too.
After a rich cappuccino with fresh whipped cream and a few bites of Lauren’s crispy veal schnitzel, I couldn’t resist the apple strudel. It came right to our table on a little white dish, just as presented in Inglorious Basterds, and I felt like I was in Hollywood action. The strudel was perfect – crispy crust easy to cut, soft, warm apples and subtle flavors of cinnamon and raisin. With the thick, hardly sweetened whipped cream, it was heaven on earth.
Though I really only focused on dessert, this cafe is one of Lauren and Austin’s favorites, and now one of my own. It’s relaxed, beautiful, and a world away from my own in New York city. Next time I’ll be back for the sausage and the Viennese hot chocolate.
Location: 1048 5th Ave @ 86th Street