It took a war between the Ottomans and the Holy Roman Empire to bring schnitzel to Austria back in 1683. Today, a 1999 Chevy commercial truck delivers them to Midtown Manhattan office workers. Has society moved forward in these past 328 years? We stopped by Schnitzel & Things to find out.
Schnitzel is simple. It's boneless meat, pounded with a mallet until it scallops, then coated in bread crumbs and deep fried. Naturally, there are a million ways to go wrong with this preparation — too greasy, too bready, meat's too thick.
Schnitzel and Things gets the combination exactly right. The double-hand-sized cutlets are thoroughly ungreasy, though wear a squirt of richness-cutting lemon like a ray of sunlight on the palate. I opted for the traditional veal, which had been pounded to a perfect thickness. They also offer cod, chicken and pork cutlets, which look identical — a testament to preparation consistency.
Order the platter and you get two sides. I went traditional with pungent sauerkraut peppered with bits of corned beef, and mayoless German potato salad, which are among the best I've eaten anywhere in the new world. Also good, though less teutonic is the beet and feta salad and chickpea salad and, of course French fries.
Among the truck's other "things" include a bunch of fancy condiments, including Chipotle Sour Cream and a relish of ginger, scallions and garlic. While flavorful, they're unnecessary in the universe of schnitzel, though they're likely great for spicing up a boring workday of meetings.
Ultimately, it's all about ingredients and prep, both of which the Schnitzel truck guys do well and consistently. Ernst Rüdiger Graf von Starhemberg would be proud.
Loving Jalopnik's Street Meat Week? Check out Truck Yeah, where gourmet food, art, music, and design trucks convene at the Crown Victoria Bar in Williamsburg to celebrate mobile culture in NYC. Truck Yeah is produced by Art Cart NYC, Etta Place and Gawker Artists and sponsored by Jalopnik. October 2, 12-6pm | 60 S 2nd St @ Wythe