The Wall Street Journal - Apricot and Schnapps Paired for Dessert

The Wall Street Journal - Apricot and Schnapps Paired for Dessert

Just in time for apricot season, Wallsé chef and owner Kurt Gutenbrunner has come up with a dessert to pair with the apricot schnapps he features at his Austrian-centric restaurant.

The new treat, a cheese dumpling with marinated apricots ($12), paired with the schnapps, a type of spirit popular in Germany and Austria, makes for a full-throttle sensory experience, said the chef.

Mr. Gutenbrunner is hoping to roll out more fruit desserts to complement his growing list of schnapps, which he feels doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves in the U.S.

The schnapps he offers, $24 to $35 a glass, are from a boutique distiller that uses a high concentration of fruit per bottle, he said. “This is a pure, exclusive product.”

Wallsé, 344 W. 11th St.; wallse.com

Grub Street - The Absolute Best Restaurant in the West Village

Grub Street - The Absolute Best Restaurant in the West Village

That’s chef-owner Kurt Gutenbrunner glaring down on his diners — or rather, it’s his portrait, painted by his pal Julian Schnabel. The piece contributes to the artsy, intellectual ambience of the markedly grown-up room, a cosseted foil to the rambunctious Spotted Pig up the street. People come here to dine in peace on Austrian Michelin-bait like spaetzle with rabbit, white asparagus in season, and New York’s preeminent Wiener schnitzel, properly accoutred with vinegary potato-cucumber salad and a spoonful of lingonberry jam. Gutenbrunner has made a cottage industry out of Viennese kaffeehaus culture at his Café Sabarsky uptown, which means you should definitely order dessert. And there may be no better place to delve into the wide world of Austrian wine grapes, from Blaufrankisch toZierfandler.

The Tig - Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner

The Tig - Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner

With a penchant for modernizing Austrian cuisine and a resumé that boasts an impressive list of restaurants whose Michelin stars and critical rankings grew with his culinary skills in the kitchen, it’s no wonder that Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner’s four NY restaurants are all equally adored (beginning with the flagship and Michelin starred,Wallsé). Born in a small town on the Danube River, Chef Gutenburnner’s restaurants reflect the garden-fresh ethos he relished during his childhood coupled with quintessential Austrian classics such as schnitzel and wurst. Boasting the largest Austrian wine selection in the US, a bevy of Bavarian beers on tap, and an eclectic art collection all reflected in his restos (vintage or otherwise), this chef has added his Austrian panache to all that he touches. You’re not simply eating a plate of food – at Gutenbrunner’s restaurants, you’re tasting memories. Cheers to that!

ONS Manual - The Artistry of Dining: Kurt Gutenbrunner

ONS Manual - The Artistry of Dining: Kurt Gutenbrunner

To witness Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner in action is to see a masterful artisan operate with calculated clarity of purpose. Originally of Austrian heritage, he was raised in a scenic village named Wallsee, situated right on the Danube. As a kid, he naturally gravitated towards cooking, and that passion for food combined with his love for traveling led him to NYC. He was sous chef at Windows of the World at the World Trade Center during the late 80’s, and followed that with a tenure at David Bouley in Tribeca.