Dear Mr. Gold:
I am starting to worry that with Schatzi on Main closing and no other high-profile Austrian restaurant left, Austrians and friends of Austrian cooking will have to completely forget about schnitzels and pork roast with dumplings, let alone beef roulades or Kaiserschmarrn. Once or twice a year, a pilgrimage to the Lake Cuyamaca Austrian-American restaurant in Julian (for some of the best schnitzel anywhere) will be feasible. For the rest of the year, sushi or cobb salad will have to be the order of the day . . . unless you have better advice.
—Bernd Faust, L.A.
Dear Mr. Faust:
New York is going through a renaissance of Austrian restaurants, and Danube, Wallse and Blaue Gans are all superb. The Austrian-food universe in Los Angeles, alas, is experiencing no such growth spurt. Even my favorite strudel baker seems to have gone south. But as you probably know, Spago has excellent schnitzel, Sherry Yard’s mind-blowing strawberry version of the pancake Kaiserschmarrn, the occasional dab of pumpkinseed oil, even something resembling schlutzkrapfen sometimes. Cut may serve even better schnitzel (although you pay dearly for the pleasure of tasting it), and its oxtail consommé with marrow dumplings is delicious. It surely doesn’t hurt that Wolfgang Puck, the best chef in Los Angeles, is from Austria. Still, I have been contemplating that pilgrimage to Julian . . . Spago, 176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, (310) 385-0880.