Every New Yorker knows the best restaurants are found off the beaten path. Edi and the Wolf, brainchild of Viennese expats Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban, is one of those spots. Despite the sounds and aromas and greenery spilling out onto Avenue C, there isn’t even a sign for the restaurant. But once get there and sit at one of the farmhouse tables, you’ll never forget how to find Edi and the Wolf again.
You walk up a ramp to enter a wonderland, dripping with plants and unusual memorabilia. The wood-slat ceiling is made of reclaimed barn wood, and the centerpiece of it all is the chandelier: a length of rope that was salvaged from an old church, adorned with lights, hung above the distressed copper bar. The place is crowded, but it doesn’t feel frenetic.
You sit down to a small menu that Sigmund Freud—also a son of Vienna—could easily parse. Even if you don’t know your spaetzle from your schnitzel, your waiter will guide you through the menu and wines. Later, as you snatch bits from your friends’ plates, you’ll realize there really isn’t a bad choice to be made here anyway. The menu does vary somewhat throughout the year, in keeping with what’s seasonal. You can always peek on the website to see what’s in, but the pork schnitzel with potato and cucumber salad (and a generous dollop of lingonberry jam) is standard. Though you easily could have made a meal off of the bread and appetizers, beautifully plated on slate serving platters, you indulge on entrees and start that diet tomorrow.
On the off chance that Edi and the Wolf can’t accommodate you but you’re itching for something exotic, head slightly south to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and try the thoughtfully curated Taste of Philippines dining menu at Pig & Khao. Unlike many insider restaurants, Edi and the Wolf does take reservations. Thanks to those farmhouse tables, they specialize in large groups. Just don’t forget to bring your appetite and love of all things Austrian.