It might be a stretch to call the hearty trappings of Central Europe a palate cleanser, but in a city saturated in Neapolitan pizzas, French bistros (see page 74), and a growing number of izakaya joints, a plate of wiener schnitzel with lingonberry sauce offers a refreshing break.
Not to say this is a complete novelty. For a long time, Suppenküche in Hayes Valley had the hip-with-spätzle market cornered. Walzwerk and Schmidt’s followed suit. But the turning point might have come in January when Leopold’s, a chummy Austrian gasthaus—complete with dark wood wainscoting and egg-yolk yellow walls cluttered just so with mounted deer heads and family portraits—took over the former Antica Trattoria space in Russian Hill. No one’s yet calling for an end to margherita madness, but it does say something about the changing of the guard.