Spaetzle, wiener schnitzel, smoked pork chops and braised cabbage are humble foods, no doubt. But for me, they are reason enough to make the five-hour drive from Manhattan to Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca in Lodi, New York. Heurigers are casual restaurants at wineries in and around Vienna. Serving traditional Austrian dishes with young wines, they are as much about the culture of hanging out as they are about the food. Chef Dano Hutnik, a former ballet dancer in Vienna, and his wife, Karen Gilman, an artist who also bakes the desserts, have translated the heuriger concept to the Finger Lakes, an area renowned for its Rieslings and Gewürztraminers. The results are spectacular, from the house-made smoked meats and the cheeses made from local cow, goat and water-buffalo milk to the Viennese pastries. What Hutnik doesn’t buy or make, he forages for, and not because René Redzepi said to: The Finger Lakes woods are full of the mushrooms he loves—black trumpets, chanterelles, porcini. All of which explains why I’m forcing my friends from New York City to make the big drive to Dano’s when I get married there later this month.
—Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President, The James Beard Foundation
Finger Lakes 411
Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca
Classic Austrian dishes and Seneca Lake views. Lodi; danosonseneca.com.
Hector Wine Company
One of the Finger Lakes’ best new wineries; try the Pinot Blanc. Hector; hectorwinecompany.com.
Damiani Wine Cellars
Damiani makes elegant Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Syrah and Meritage. Burdett; damianiwinecellars.com.
Ports of New York
Run by the scion of a French wine-making family. Ithaca; portsofnewyork.com.