If you’re ever curious what an eastern European restaurant might look like, just pay Charivari a visit. This Midtown cornerstone could easily be transported to Prague or Budapest. Chef-owner Johann Schuster's keen precision comes from years of working in restaurants all over Europe.
The menu showcases many Italian dishes, but they’re not necessarily Schuster’s strength. Dishes that excel are often inspired by his homeland—Transylvania, Romania—or those rooted in Germany and surrounding areas. His wiener schnitzel is the best in the city. The recipe is from his Austrian grandfather. The veal is pounded paper thin and encased in a delicate, crispy crust that’s puffy with air pockets. Juicy and meaty, it’s served with a potato salad tossed with vinaigrette and red onions for a refreshing contrast. And like in Vienna, it’s served with a sliver of anchovy. Steaks are another Schuster speciality. He ages the steaks himself, and they’re packed with a subtle, gamy beefiness.They’re served with crispy home-fried potatoes that are creamy inside, but slightly crispy on the outside.
Want to keep vampires away? Try the velvety and very potent Dracula’s Garlic Soup. Anya Tish, owner of Anya Tish Gallery, declared this to be one of the best she’s had in town and we have to agree with her. The savvy Tish orders this classic European dish whenever it appears on the menu. These days, it rarely does because diners reek of garlic later. But this version is worth it; it’s also a great cold remedy.