In celebration of the birthdays of my friends, Sweetpea and Bella, we decided to head out to the Lower East Side for some Austrian food. Based on a friend’s recommendation, Sweetpea suggested that we try out a restaurant called Katja. Not knowing what to expect, I showed up at the restaurant, ready to be surprised. I was welcomed by a small, but cozy and stylish-looking place.
My friends and I were starving, so we decided to dive right into the menu, which offered a selection of Austrian dishes.
Upon the recommendation of the waitress, I ordered the Austrian meatballs and Sweetpea ordered the späztle. Bella ordered the seared hickory smoked salmon. And to calm our starving tummies, we ordered the pretzel with spread as an appetizer, which made us very content when it arrived.
The pretzel was nice and hot, as if it just came right out of the oven. The bread of the pretzel was soft on the inside, but had a slightly chewy outer skin, which was a perfect combination of texture. There was a light sprinkle of salt on the pretzel, which gave the pretzel some flavoring , but not so much so that the saltiness would be overbearing. Accompanying the appetizer, there was a light garlic spread and butter on the side.
As delicious as the appetizer tasted, the main entreés were even more savory.
My mouth watered as the waitress laid down the giant plate of Austrian meatballs before me. The meatballs were juicy and scrumptious. They tasted as if they were made from pork. Along with the meatballs, there were also roasted carrots, which were soft to the bite. A generous helping of potato puree definitely helped fill me up to the brim. A nice sprinkle of fried onion flakes on all the food also enhanced the flavor of the whole dish.
Sweetpea’s spätzle (which is egg noodle dumpling) was also delectable. The spatzle was mixed in with snow peas, shitake mushrooms, pea sprouts, and peppercorn sauce. The dish reminded me a little of mac and cheese, but it was very light in terms of the cheesy taste and the vegetables made the dish very refreshing. I only had one bite, but it was enough to make me wish I ordered that instead.
Bella’s salmon also looked very delicious, but I was too full to sample a bite. It looked very fresh and colorful. It also came with mashed potatoes and spinach.
I really enjoyed my meal at Katja. It felt very relaxed and private while dining at Katja, even though we were eating out. The food was also delicious. I had a great time catching up and celebrating with some old friends there. I’d definitely return here if I wanted to have a nice meal somewhere classy, yet low-key.