This place has been on my radar for a while, and after attending a fun event in Lower East Side, we decided to head over for dinner. It didn’t have a large, visible sign, but instead, it had an intricate metal sign. It brought out antique feel to it, I liked the old-fashion style.
They had their large windows facing the street open, which made it feel like the dining area was extended into the outside, making the large space even more spacious. Another thing that they use to expand the feeling of space were the large mirrors. It also helped reflect the soft lighting they had, creating cozy, romantic atmosphere.
The inside was quite large, bigger than it looks from the outside. There is a main dining area when you walk in, with a nice size bar taking up half (or more than half) the room. But, the dining area extends to the left, with booth seating and larger table seating that can accommodate larger groups of people. Since it was a weekday, it was more quiet, but we like it that way.
We started off with a beer, and of course, right after the first sip, we had to have their warm pretzel…!
They have nice selections of German beer, and we chose Paulaner ($8.00/half liter) which is a Hefe-Weisse. It is classic wheat, round body, crisp and refreshing. It was silky smooth, light but flavorful, went perfectly with the pretzel and food. After taking a sip, we noticed there is a line on a glass, indicating how much to pour before the foam. And, it must have been a perfect pour, since it was just slightly below after a sip or two.
The Pretzel with Spread ($4.50) came piping hot, which was a great sign of freshness. It was soft but dense, moist but airy, and yes, super tasty! As for its size, it was much smaller than expected, but it was still reasonable for the price. Their butter and spread was really good too, I heard that they make their own spread, so that is another plus. They also brought real-deal mustard, which was much appreciated. Loved that it was in a large mustard earthenware pot!
As for the main dish, we wanted to try their Assorted Sausage Sampler ($20/person) which I heard great things about. This item is served for a group of two or more, so don’t go there alone if you want this dish. It comes with several kinds of sausages, pork belly, sauerkraut, and dumplings. Most of everything is home-made right there at the restaurant, including sauerkraut and dumplings. The sausages were huge, plump, super juicy and packed with flavor. I can’t say which one was my favorite, as I loved them all. Addition of pork belly into the mix was interesting, it certainly added more flavor and texture to the dish. Their sauerkraut were really great also, it was so addicting! You can tell when something is homemade and not store-bought…it was so tasty, soaked up all the flavors from the meats, without becoming too salty. Dumplings were thick and bouncy, but not too dense. Everything went great together. Needless to say, we could not finish the entire dish. We were completely full with all the goodness, and took home the rest for later pleasure.
They have three uni-sex bathrooms downstairs, right by their kitchen. One door has a German sign, while the other two doors had Chinese sign… so random! It was a nice size bathroom, and had cute pictures on the walls. Just be careful going down/up the stairs, the ceiling can be a bit low.
The service was very friendly, our server (Kaylie? Probably totally different spelling…sorry!) was super nice, she took a good care of us. She made us feel welcomed with a warm smile, made sure we had everything we needed. Our water was filled, and answered any questions we had about the food or drinks.
As we were leaving, I could see the soft lights seeping out from inside to the large open windows, which was so warm and welcoming. We had a very pleasant time here, I am so glad we finally got to visit this place. I would love to go back for more great food, maybe a brunch on a weekend…
Cafe Katja – 79 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002