Showing posts with label German. Show all posts
Showing posts with label German. Show all posts

CHALET ALPINA

>> Tuesday, August 3, 2010

CHALET ALPINA
9835 Metropolitan Avenue
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 793-3774


Once upon a time, the legends say, Forest Hills was a pretty German neighborhood. For a long time, holding fort for the Germans, surrounded by a seemingly endless onslaught of Italian and Japanese food has been Chalet Alpina on Metropolitan Avenue. It has company now in the form of Manor Oktoberfest nearby on Yellowstone. My experience at Chalet Alpina was solidly middle-of-the-road up until the very end when I took a turn for the awkward.



Chalet Alpina is relatively large inside, and pretty dark, like dining in a ski lodge. There's no warmth there in any romantic sense. I'd never take a date there. This is more the kind of place where I can go with a bunch of friends, eat some food, drink some beer, and BS for a while. The thing is, Manor Oktoberfest is the same kind of place, but I would take a date there. Chalet Alpina's crowd is a decidedly older set who have found their spot where they can become regulars.



Okay, the food. Before I go further, the food here was all decent. Nothing was bad. But nothing wowed me in any way, except in size. You'll get portions so heart-cloggingly large, you'll swear you were south of the Mason Dixon Line.

To be blunt, the appetizer list was very disappointing. Unless choices like fried zucchini, friend calamari and shrimp cocktail are German in origin, it seemed rather similar to what I could get at a diner. Still, there were a few options for someone seeking something that they don't serve at IHOP. Bro ordered the Potato Pancake. It came with apple sauce to dip it in and was about the size of his head. It was good. Not too dense, not too greasy. But still, it weighed as much as the plate it was on. My appetizer was the Herring in Sour Cream with onion. It's exactly what it sounds like. Herring. Onions. Sour cream liberally covering everything. Again, good. But Jesus, I was so full by the end of the appetizers alone that the thought that my entree was about to arrive made me queasy. "After all that food, I need a nap." Bro said.



When the entrees arrived, I nearly fainted. My dinner, the Pork Schnitzel, was massive. At least it was pounded paper thin though. It came with an entirely forgettable baked potato and not-very-good creamed spinach (in my opinion, since Bro says he liked it). The pork itself was enjoyable though, especially with lemon juice and sour cream. Bro's meal was the Munchner Sauerbraten, a pot roast in a dark sweet sauce. While he thought the meal was fine (at least the meat part), I didn't care for it. Though to be be fair, I don't like pot roast. I tend to find the texture heavy and dry. It requires being eaten with a glass of beer or drowned in sauce, which this was. It came with a bowl of pickled cabbage and potato dumplings, which as you can see in the picture are the two things that look like white tennis balls. They were tasteless and had the consistency of Play-Doh, though Bro says that they were better the next day when he re-heated his leftovers. As for the cabbage... well, I'm almost certain that this was invented on a dare.



There was no way in Himmel we would survive dessert without exploding.

So the food was decent without being exceptional and the atmosphere was fine, too. I'd probably be willing to return, except that someone (the owner I assume, but maybe the manager, not that it really matters) decided to come by as we were getting ready to leave. He literally leaned over the booth so we couldn't get up and, after the perfunctory "did you enjoy the meal?" banter, decided to tell us two or three stories about death, about cholera killing thousands of people in China, about mass graves, and about how his grandfather got the shit kicked out of him for some reason or other and how he had all of his bones broken. We smiled politely, but really, how does one respond to that? Eventually, he let us leave.

Two beers, two appetizers, two dinners, plus tax and tip. $81.25.

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MANOR OKTOBERFEST

>> Sunday, January 17, 2010

73-11 Yellowstone Boulevard
Forest Hills, NY 11375
(718) 544-2400


Forest Hills may not have a beer garden the likes of which Astoria does, but with the arrival of Manor Oktoberfest, we're slightly closer. Manor Oktoberfest easily has the most unique beer selection in the neighborhood and, with the available sizes ranging from your everyday bottle to a 2-liter "boot", you can get happily sauced.



Manor Oktoberfest originally began as a small bar/cafe at the Atlas Park shopping complex. I asked the manager there if they were planning to close that one now that the larger Yellowstone site has opened. He told me that the small space will remain despite the expansion.


Despite Manor Oktoberfest trying to make its mark as a beer hall, and despite being one of the few bars in the neighborhood without a giant Bud Light logo glowing in the window, you should read this more as a review of the restaurant than of the bar. I'll merely mention that, from my point of view, I'd prefer going here to hang out and have a beer than almost anywhere else in the neighborhood.


Bro and I showed up at 10pm on a hungry Friday night. It was admittedly late for dinner, but the kitchen doesn't close until 11, thank goodness. Manor Oktoberfest is not small. The bar area, which has its own little loungey section by the windows, was fairly crowded, but the dining area, with its exposed brick walls and countless beer steins on display, was relatively quiet. In keeping with its attempt to be a beer hall, the booths are huge. Bro and I were led to one that could easily seat 8 people. Manor Oktoberfest, unlike almost any other bar (or even restaurant) in recent memory, is inordinately bright. It's not as bright as a fast food restaurant, but it's brighter than my apartment. Anyway, I ordered a liter of an unpronounceable (to me) dark ale and we proceeded to figure out our dinner.



We began with a hearty helping of carbohydrates. Bro ordered Pierogies. For those of you who don't know what they are, first, for shame. Go order some. They're a fried dough stuffed with mashed potatoes and served with sour cream (I like mine with both sour cream and apple sauce). These were smaller than the ones I'm used to having, but they were very good nonetheless. My appetizer was Potato Pancakes, served with apple sauce. Watch the roof of your mouth. These things, while tasty (of course), will scald you.



They make no pretense about this being a fancy place, as the pics of the food can attest. There is no art here, just German comfort food. Bro ordered the Jaegerschnitzel, a breaded pork cutlet that's been pounded as flat as a pancake, fried, and then served under a mushroom sauce over fried potatoes. I liked this a lot, and so did he. But it's heavy and half of it was taken home to be eaten the next day. My choice was the Sauerbraten, thin strips of beef, covered in gravy and served on a bed of spaetzle with a small side of pickled cabbage. Not a bad dish per se, but I preferred Bro's dinner over mine. It was also unfinishable.


Bro and I had been to Manor Oktoberfest one weekend recently for lunch and grabbed some sausages. Bro tried the Kielbasa, serve on a bun with sauerkraut and potato salad. I tried the Oktoberfest Bratwurst, also on a jumbo hot dog bun and with a small side of potato salad. Both were great, though I preferred the Bratwurst. Similar in shape to a giant hot dog but with a smooth spiciness that hotdogs don't have. Hot dogs are boring by comparison.



Entrees ran us somewhere in the upper teens, but there's also a large sandwich, hamburger and salad menu to choose from that's slightly less pricey. Appetizers are between $6 and $10. We stumbled out of Manor Oktoberfest so full that dessert didn't even cross our minds.

Manor Oktoberfest is closed Mondays.


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eateryrow@gmail.com

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