German Comfort Food

It may not seem like the typical St. Patrick’s Day dinner, but Schnitzel Haus German restaurant turned out to be just what I was craving.

It was a typical St. Patrick’s Day this year – chilly – and a quiet one in Bay Ridge. The parade was held a week later, on an equally cold and dreary day. But, feeling festive and a little cooped up, my husband and I took our daughter out and perused the neighborhood a bit.

As we were looking for a family friendly establishment (ruling out all rowdy pubs, of course) and one serving some traditional corned beef and cabbage, we stumbled across Schnitzel Haus. Having eaten here before, we decided to see how a German restaurant celebrates St. Patrick’s Day.

Fred and Amber Urban opened Schnitzel Haus in 2007. It has become widely popular, in part, due to the fact that traditional German restaurants that were once fruitful in Queens no longer exist. And, although south Brooklyn has a plethora of multi-ethnic restaurants, this is the only German restaurant. (And Bay Ridge also lacks a beer garden that some other gentrified neighborhoods hail.)

Schnitzel Haus dedicates a substantial portion of their menu to its namesake, schnitzel (thin, boneless meat, traditionally of veal), but they also have a nice selection of wurste. There is bratwursttler, geraeucherter bratwurstteller, knackwurstteller, baunerwurstteller…you will have to read the menu more closely for a proper description of these sausages. Or you can get the 5 wurste sampler. They are all served with sauerkraut, red cabbage and mashed potatoes.

There are some choices for vegetarians…one is the spaetzle; a traditional dish of egg noodles, dating back to Germany, Austria and Switzerland as far back as 1725. Another is Reibekuchen; potato fritters, classically eaten with apple sauce or pumpernickel bread, often sold at street markets in Germany during Christmas.

But I had a hankering for some meat. And this is the place to go for it. German comfort food with large portions to boot.

I ordered the traditional St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and cabbage, which was tender and salty. I felt the mashed potatoes and carrots were very bland, but it seems that’s typical for the vegetables that come with this meal. My husband ordered the special – lamb pot pie. I don’t think my digestive tract would have been able to handle that heaping dish of ground lamb, cheese and spices. Delicious, but too rich and salty for me.

We also decided on this restaurant because they touted live entertainment for the evening. The polite gentleman who was to play the keyboard and sing, unfortunately, started at least a half hour after he was supposed to, so we didn’t get to see him play.

The German beer selection is extensive with beers on tap and sold by the bottle. They have a few desserts, including a delicious sounding warm apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and vanilla sauce. I would suggest splitting an entrée if you plan on squeezing in dessert.

The one complaint that seems to persist on the internet about Schnitzel Haus is that the food is smothered in sauces, which hide the true taste of the meats.

I say, enjoy your moist, smothered meats, whether it’s beef goulash over egg noodles or the “Crispy Porkshank smothered in dark beer gravy” and wash it down with a cold, refreshing German beer.

Schnitzel Haus is located at 7317 5th Avenue, Brooklyn , NY 11209. They are open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, hold private events, have a $14.95 Bavarian buffet every Wednesday night and host live bands and karaoke night each week. Average cost of most entrees: $15.00.

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Theresa Gentile MS, RD, CDN is a dietitian at Maimonides Medical Center, adjunct faculty at CUNY Brooklyn College and counsels adults and children using sound science and holistic approaches to eating. Check out her website at www.theresagentilenutrition.com and like her on Facebook www.facebook.com/TGNutrition.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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