Restaurant of the Month: Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca
About Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca
Born in the Ukraine, Dano Hutnik was a ballet dancer in Vienna for fifteen years before pursuing a culinary career. After studying in Paris at the Cordon Bleu and receiving his chefs’ diploma at theCalifornia Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Dano went to work in varied establishments including the San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara and The Sea Grill in Manhattan’s Rockafeller Center. Dano and his wife Karen settled in Ithaca, NY in 1990 to open Dano’s, acclaimed as a haven for fine food in upstate New York. The restaurant has been written up in newspapers in Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City as well as publications such as Getaway for Gourmets, The Mobile Guide, Michelin Guide USA, and Country Inns and Backroads. Luminaries from the world of food, music, film, architecture and art have been taken to dine at Dano’s. Dano has been featured in Art Culinaire, Foie Gras a Passion, and The Mensch Chef, all recently published cookbooks. He has been awarded numerous regional awards and honors, and has on many occasions been an invited lecturer at Cornell University’s Hotel School. He has been a featured chef at the James Beard Foundation in NYC on four separate occasions, and as recently as December 2003, promoting Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca.
Karen graduated from Tufts University and The Museum School of Fine Arts with a B.F.A. in 1984. Karen worked in fine dining in Boston, Cape Cod and New York City while pursuing her art career. In 1990, she helped her husband open Dano’s. Karen’s job description would include business manager, front of house operations and pastry chef. She also exhibits her paintings at Dano’s, and had an integral role in the interior design of Dano’s on Seneca. Karen has been a featured pastry chef at the James Beard Foundation on four occasions. Her recipe for Caramelized Quince Honey Cake appears in The Mensch Chef.
Seneca Wine Trail
There are many wineries all over the Finger Lakes. Some of the most successful wineries are on the Seneca Wine Trail. The Trail extends around the largest and deepest of the Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake. Over thirty wineries offer wine made from vinifera varietals such as riesling, chardonnay, merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir as well as native American varieties.
Riesling is on the way to becoming the crown jewel of Finger Lakes wines, as increasing numbers of Seneca Lake wineries are winning medals throughout the United States. In Food and Wine Magazine’s Wine Guide 2002, Jamie Rayyis stated that “Rieslings from the Finger Lakes are the finest of their type in the U.S.” In the last decade, an unprecedented stream of quality Finger Lakes Reds made from European grape varieties have been produced. The 2002 Red Newt Cellars Cabernet Franc was awarded the 2004 Gold Star award by Santé Magazine in their Jan/Feb 2005 issue. As wine enthusiasts expand their palates, the wineries of the Finger Lakes are uniquely situated to gain increasing recognition. In June 2004, Santé Magazine wrote “Veterans Willy Frank and Hermann Wiemer produce some of the best Riesling and Gewurtztraminer to be found anywhere in the U.S. A younger generation of gifted vintners can be found at Anthony Road, Fox Run, Lakewood, Red Newt, and Standing Stone, all on Seneca Lake, the fastest-growing wine area in New York State.
Click here to view Dano’s Summer Menu.