25 Lafayette Ave., Brooklyn, at Ashland Pl. 718-222-5800;
immediate vicinity to Brooklyn Academy of Music
Historically evocative placards, Kaiser Josef Platz street signs and garish German beer ads adorn the dark walls of Thomas Beisl’s interior. There is also a comfortable winter garden toward the back that looks out onto the Howard Gilman Opera House. The menu has many of the traditional Austrian favorites and a couple of vegetarian options, which are quite good — all around the execution is fabulous. There is also a good wine list with a decent assortment of wines by the glass. Prices are very reasonable (most entrees are under $20) and portions tend to veer toward generous.
For appetizer the endive salad is an excellent choice. The palatschinken is also good, but will probably be too rich if you decide to order a meat entree. The beef gulaysh is a great choice for the winter. The tender, deliciously seasoned meat dissolves in your mouth and the spaetzle are satisfying and melt like butter. I’ve had all schnitzels, Wiener, cod and celery root and I love them all. The Wiener Schnitzel is golden to perfection, tender and gargantuan in size. The celery root is also delish, but markedly smaller in size. You’ll want to make up for it with dessert, which would be a crime to forgo in this place. In this category everything is recommendable. My favorites are the apple strudel with schlag, a large helping of homemade whipped cream, and the hot raspberry palatschinken. The strudel pastry is light, not too buttery and served warm. The palatschinken crepe is soft and thick and mildly crisp and textured with raisins and nuts and covered in a delicious hot raspberry sauce. Both are outstanding and neither is cloyingly sweet. Bottom line: you’ve gotta try them.