Andre’s Cafe

15 Jan

Are you a New Yorker?  A frequent visitor? Maybe you’ve been here just once?

Yes? Have you ever been to Andre’s Cafe? No? Tsk tsk.

Oh, come off it Ann! A Hungarian place all the way up in the barren no-man’s land also known as the circle of hell the Second Avenue Subway hath wrought? Why should I bother?

Why? Because your preconception of Hungarian food is probably wrong and you like good coffee. Oh, and because you deserve a pastry today!

Well, sure, I always deserve a pastry, but aren’t Hungarian pastries stuffed with, uhm, poppy seeds and gummy cheese?

Gasp.  Get yourself to Andre’s, stat!

We went this weekend for lunch and it was great.  Everyone thinks of Hungarian food as paprikash and strudel and sticky pastries and these things are available at Andre’s, but when they’re done properly and well (read not by your mother in the ’80s as an attempt to cook something new and exciting) they’re utterly sublime.

Oh, and the coffee!  As we sat rhapsodizing over how delicious and balanced it was, the little old lady sitting next to me leaned in, “Isn’t it divine?” she asked, “It’s the best coffee I’ve ever had. It’s what keeps me coming back, well, that and the pastries.  Every time I eat here I call my brother and say ‘You have to come to New York and try this coffee!’ That’s how much I love it.”

Yeah.  That pretty much sums it up.

But coffee, coffee’s just a beverage Ann! What about the food?

Andre’s specializes in both savory and sweet strudels (I’m going back for the cabbage strudel, you can be sure) and palacsinta; crepes filled with delicious things like pepper stew (lecso), mushrooms (the couple that replaced the old lady oohed and aahed over these) and cheese with dill and bacon (I’m going back for that too).  And as if that wasn’t enough they also serve full dinners, sandwiches, soups and yeah, pastries.

We started our meal with soup. I had cauliflower that was good but paled in comparison to Isaac’s bowl of sublime mixed bean soup full of chunks of delicious smoked-pork. But you know what can rescue any sub par soup? How about a basket of bacon flecked biscuits?  Seriously, you cannot resist those biscuits.  I dare you. Thank god they’re small, about the size of a half-dollar.

After that Isaac had the lecso palacsinka and I had the temerity to order Turoscsusza Tepertovel a dish best described as being our latest entry into the class of food known as “creamy evil“.  So what on earth is Turoscsusza Tepertovel?  Well, it’s egg noodles.  With farmer’s cheese.  And bacon.  And, well, uhm, sour cream.  And you mix them all together and yeah, you’re transported to another place.  I oinked my way through the whole dish leaving just a few pieces of bacon on the side of the plate that I had to cover with a napkin because otherwise I would have eaten them too.  And then a free dessert came.

We weren’t planning on ordering dessert. We had consumed enough calories.  But it came free with my Turoscsusza Tepertovel.  And who leaves free dessert on the table? The choices were limited: apple pie, cherry pie and chococlate napoleon.  I went for the apple pie. It was very good, but after that much pork and cheese it’s hard to fully appreciate a piece of pie.  It was warm and delicious.  But next time (and oh there will be a next time!) I’m aiming straight at the blueberry pie.  It was the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.

So let me get this straight: You’ve only been to this place once and yet you’re willing to waste 700 words on it and recommend it without knowing if the service and food are rock solid?

Yep, you go it. In our opinion Andre’s Cafe is definitely worth your time regardless of the spotty reviews on the Internet. In addition to the excellent food, Andre’s adheres to several of our rules for good eating in New York:

  1. The staff are surly and from the country of origin.
  2. The walls were decorated with paraphernalia from the Hungarian national soccer team and, had there been a match on, I’m sure they would have been watching it on a TV in the kitchen
  3. Also on the walls are reviews from newspapers, some of which are no longer in existence, dating back several decades.

We also recommend taking a very long walk after your luncheon.  Might I suggest heading downtown from there, cutting across the island and spending a few hours at Moma?  You need to earn your return visit.

5 Responses to “Andre’s Cafe”

  1. Susan Oher January 16, 2010 at 5:55 am #

    AND… Andres has a most wonderful and generous side. Every Friday evening I head over to Andres to pick up bags filled with their day old pastries that they so generously donate to God’s Love We Deliver – an agency that delivers freshly cooked nutritious meals to 1,700 clients living with life altering illness, to sick to shop and cook for themselves.
    These pastries are snacks for our tireless volunteers who fill the kitchen 6 days a week helping to prepare the wonderful food we deliver to our clients. Please contact us at http://www.godslovewedeliver.org if you’d like to get involved
    So a big THANK YOU to Andres Cafe for their delicious pastries and their generosity to God’s Love We Deliver!

    • Susan Oher January 16, 2010 at 8:43 am #

      OOPS… I head over every MONDAY evening, not Friday…

  2. James January 16, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    Great photos of MoMA!

  3. ann January 20, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    Susan — Thank you for adding another perspective to Andre’s! I hope to someday experience their pastries as a reward for such a good deed.

    James — Thank you! The building is as inspiring as the art.

  4. Brooklynguy January 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm #

    This place is near where i grew up, and “awful wasteland” is a great description of the area. but there are a few things that make it worth going to the upper east side, and Andre’s is definitely one of them. nice write up.

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