Down the Mountain

Alpine dishes touch down

Many of last year's food obsessions continue to hold our attention, but that hasn't stopped a new, high-altitude cuisine from jumping across the Atlantic and stealing its share of the spotlight.

From coast to coast, chefs are leaning toward flavors from the Alps and turning our heads with dishes that extend far beyond sausage and sauerkraut.

With its emphasis on hearty, earthy ingredients and sharp, underutilized flavors like dill, horseradish and savory, Alpine cuisine encompasses everything from house-made liverwurst to wild boar and lingonberry stew.

Find the latter at Los Angeles's 3 Square Café + Bakery, which draws in a steady crowd with its schnitzel and burgers served on the restaurant's signature pretzel buns.

Pretzel bread also surfaces at Portland, Oregon's new Grüner (pictured), where chef Christopher Israel showcases the land of Edelweiss and the Matterhorn in dishes like beet-pickled deviled eggs (click here to download the recipe) and refined buckwheat spaetzle with rabbit, wild mushrooms and crème fraîche.

New York has two pillars of Austrian excellence: the beloved Café Katja, where diners converge for Emmentaler sausage, Austrian meatballs and Linzer tortes, and the upscale Seäsonal restaurant, where classics like kaisergulasch (braised veal cheeks) attract locals with global appetites–and appease expats from afar.