Avenue C is knee deep in a pool of gentrification right now. Amongst the housing projects and homeless punk rockers are all kinds of hip eating and drinking establishments, resulting in one of the most entertaining blocks of culture clashing this city has to offer. To the drunk college kid we saw trip over himself and into the garbage cans in front of Summit Bar the other night - it might be wise to watch where you fall around here. This isn't MacDougal Street just yet.
Being the judgmental person that I am, it took me a while to accept the fact that any restaurant named Edi And The Wolf could actually be worth going to. I have a habit of assuming a bad name equals a bad restaurant, and what a terrible name that is. Edi opened around the same time as Octavia's Porch, an awful "Global Jewish" concept which is already closed. And because they were around the corner from one another and named after a person, in my head, they were the same thing. Much like the whole Michelle Branch and Vanessa Carlton scenario. At least they had a little more in common.
But my stupid preconceived notions about this restaurant were dead wrong. Edi And The Wolf is actually quite Infatuation friendly. The restaurant has a great spirit to it. The main dining room, a sort of rag-tag urban garage with random sh*t everywhere, seems like a perfectly appropriate arena for drinking Austrian wines you've never heard of. The spooky back "patio" actually feels more like a haunted greenhouse. Meat hooks hang from a plastic ceiling that's patched together with umbrellas. It's weird, but it's cool. Even if you can't pronounce the majority of the menu options, don't be intimidated. This food is as accessible and familiar as any - the words for the dishes are just spelled crazy.
Here's another word for you - Gentrifizierung. That's German for gentrification, that is exactly what Edi And The Wolf is perpetuating in the East Village.
This is an assortment of beets, carrots, ramps, and radish slices served over a bed of sauerkraut. It's an excellent appetizer for the table and at four bucks, it's also a steal.
If you like cured meats, you're going to freak out over this dish. I'm not sure that I've ever had better cured pork belly in my life. The thin slices of bacon were served with horseradish, pickled ramps, and apples. Yes.
In case this is new to you, spätzle are a traditional Austrian dish -essentially mini-dumplings. This is a mandatory order at Edi And The Wolf. The portion size is huge, and we couldn't even finish half of it between two people. This spätzle is served with hen of the woods mushrooms, fava beans, and asparagus and then topped with fried onions. Delicious.
This hanger steak was another dish we were impressed by, but hanger steaks are always good.
A traditional "Austrian mountain cheese ravioli" filled with homemade ricotta, baby beets, and pine nuts. The ravioli were perfectly cooked, and the cheese was creamy and went well with the beets and pine nuts. We'll call that a flavor combination success story.