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.
Those who know me (or who follow our 7x7bitsbites Twitter feed) know that I have been quietly obsessing over Schmidt's for quite a while now. Ever since first hearing that the space on 20th and Folsom, formerly occupied by El Farolito, was being taken over by the Walzwerk owners and that sausage, German snacks and beer were going to be in full effect only a block from my house, I have biding my time.