Werkstatt showed up on my radar when I started doing research for the summer of football earlier this year. Austrian places in the city tend to be on the fancy side, and this new Brooklyn pub seemed the perfect counterpoint to them, a casual spot to order a Stiegl and cheer on Austria in the Euro Cup. Unfortunately their hours were not conducive to European football hours, and the country flamed out fast anyways.
Thankfully the positives of the place stand up for meals and beers, as I found out back in late spring. My apologies for not bringing this review forward earlier, it got lost in a crack.
For an appetizer, a friend and I ordered the risotto ($17, below) from the mains menu and split it. The creamy rice has a vegetable-derived broth and is served with Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and leeks.
Our other orders were more typically Austrian, starting with the pork shoulder ($18, below), a dish on the specials board that day. The thick cut of meat is topped with a thin gravy and served with delicious bread dumplings.
It would not have seemed like a complete meal with the gulasch with spätzle ($18, below), tender chunks of braised beef in a very rich, dark gravy. The typical pasta accompaniment is done well, and combination bites cut down nicely on the richness.
With schnitzels and a very good soft pretzel, the bar and beer list becomes even more tempting for games, even if the small screen might never actually be tuned to the right channel. A spot in the window is usually enough distance between a serious drinker and a dining room sometimes full of the kids and strollers of Kensington. Werkstatt is a good addition to Coney Island Avenue, which does not see much European culture these days.