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Any good German food?

  • j

Looking for a good (settle for decent) German restaurant anywhere in Baltimore, DC or between.

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  1. Baltimore used to have a host of good German restaurants, but is now reduced to one mediocre one, Eichankranz (sp?) at Fagley and Fleet in Highlandtown. I still enjoy going their for schnitzel every year or so. Bienert's off of Philadelphia Road is an amazingly good sausage maker with limited retail hours for their raw product. Mueller's is a good German Deli about 1/2 mile north of Northern Parkway on Harford Rd.There are several places in town to get good sour beef and dumplings. My favorite is Dellarosa's on The Avenue at White Marsh. Despite the unpromising location, they also have great burgers.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ko1

      Could you tell me what happened to Hauser's Restaurant in Baltimore? Their Sauerbraten was well known worldwide but even though you may have their recipe---it is still not like it was when you ate there.

      1. re: ludwig123

        Hausner's closed more than a decade ago.

        1. re: ChewFun

          Anyone know what the plans are for this location? I seem to remember reading something about a beer garden going there but a google seach doesn't confirm any of this. Am I making the story up?

        2. re: ludwig123

          A good chunk of the art ended up in the Milwaukee Art Museum in a spectacular building by Calatrava

        3. re: ko1

          I have heard Cafe Berlin is great. Old Europe is a waste of time. I went in there with my fiancee and the service was truly awful. They sent our cocktails after the meal, very odd. They also were sloppy and took FOREVER to bring the food, really shotty place. Save the money its a lot for nothing good.

          I gotta try Cafe Berlin and Cafe Mozart. Which is better? i hear CB is better but any thought? Also, any good Midwest food places in DC? like fried cheese curds?

          1. re: saxman930

            I hope Cafe Berlin's act has pulled together. the staff is friendly and nice but the food can vary. once it was perfect, but once the 'dumpling' was a lump of undercooked dough literally the size of a baseball. maybe that was a bad night. when they hit they hit.

            1. re: saxman930

              Cafe Mozart is more expensive than it should be. Cafe Berlin is so-so. I would not return to either.

              1. re: saxman930

                For a real, authentic German gasthaus feel, I like Cafe Mozart. I was stationed in Germany with the Army back in the early 80s, and for me, Cafe Mozart is a blast from the past. They have good beer, a GREAT sausage platter, various delicious schnitzels, excellent potato salad, very authentic desserts, friendly service, and on occasion good accordion-and-yodeling folk music. Cafe Berlin is a pale likeness of a German place -- the food is nowhere NEAR authentic. Another good German place -- but more of a bistro-cafe-coffee-and-dessert kind of place -- is Cafe Leopold, just off of M Street in Georgetown. Whereas Cafe Mozart is a blast from the past, Leopold is very sleek, very Euro, very contemporary -- and the clientele reflects that. So ... it all depends on what you're looking for.

            2. Old Europe in DC
              Euro Bistro in Herndon, VA
              and way out there but worth the drive on a weekend is the Bavarian Chef on Route 29 outside of Charlottesville, VA

              1 Reply
              1. re: Meg

                Second Euro Bistro in Herndon - I probably found it from this comment.

                1. re: cbauer

                  I second the Old Stein Inn recommendation. Worth the trip for the beer alone.

                2. there's a place called the German Gourmet (I think) on rt. 29 in Fairfax. It's a german food store that, according to this Board, has terrific brats to go.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Meg

                    And all the accroutements, including beer and wine. Direct imports for the most part in terms of non perishables.

                    1. re: Meg

                      For wurst, better than German Gourmet is Heidelberg Pastry Shop (Arlington), because they put the wurst on their sensational lagenschaft pretzel-style roll. Get the bauernwurst. On Saturdays they set uo a lunch cart outside, but you can go in for lunch any day of the week.

                      1. re: Steve

                        Their German potato salad is to die for!

                      2. re: Meg

                        More specifically, it's in Falls Church, just a couple of blocks west of the intersection of Lee Highway (Washington Street in downtown Falls Church) and Hillwood Avenue. Near Elevation Burger.

                        Look for the banner "HOT BRATS TO GO" hanging from the awning.

                        1. re: MikeR

                          love this place, great for german beer, brats, and cheese!

                        2. re: Meg

                          German Gourmet used to be on 29 in downtown Falls Church, but has re-located to Columbia Pike at Bailey's Crossroads (which I guess is Annandale, but could just as easily be Alexandria or Falls Church). They have loads of great sausage, lots of good German wine, and a bewildering assortment of sauce mixes, flavorings, candy, and other Germania. Highly recommended for Deutschophiles!

                          1. re: RogInVA

                            It's Bailey's Crossroads. Has been for well over 150 years. Annandale is Annandale, Falls Church is Falls Church.

                        3. cafe tirolo in ballston has a few german specialties. the schnitzel is great (i consider myself to be a pretty good judge of german food since i grew up there).

                          1. In Hagerstown near the library- I know I'm going to spell this wrong- Schmankeralstube- great beers, authentic food and dirndle dressed waitresses- the owner's wife makes all the desserts and they are great.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: ppennee

                              I second that. I stopped there for lunch on the way to Cumberland last year. Great food and service.

                              1. re: DCDeb

                                Two thumbs up. This restaurant is great. Make a reservation, though. It can get pretty crowded. Also, if you are a fan of Schweinhaxe, they require 24 hour advance notice.

                                1. re: radioman18

                                  Another vote for Schmankeralstube. The pork shank is one of the top dishes I've eaten in any restaurant. They also have a beautiful shady biergarten out back. This, to me, is a true destination restaurant and worth the drive. Probably also worth getting a room nearby as well.

                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                    I agree that the pork shank is a great, great dish. Is the rest of the food as good? No, but it's all at least pretty good.

                                    I don't think anyone on this thread has mentioned the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown WV, which is excellent food and at a higher level of service (and price) than the Schmankerl Stube -- great wine list too.

                                    1. re: lawhound

                                      We had a number of apps (sausage plate, creamed herring, potato pancakes, spaetzle, etc.) The sausages were pretty good, the sides were okay. The pork shank was a thing of beauty. The struedel was unremarkable. But the place was extremely charming and well-run, the waitresses were lovely, and the impeccably-dressed owner eyed us disapprovingly, which convinced me the place was authentically Bavarian. The Bavarian Inn is very impressive, but many of the Shepherdstown locals I've met have dark tales of the place, particularly about how the owners treat the staff. I'll stick with the Schmanck.

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        H'towners call it the Stube. I avoid the Bavarian because it's overpriced, have rarely been impressed with the food, and a little TOO old world.

                                        1. re: Ellen

                                          Everyone avoids the Bavarian if they can. A grim Teutonic redoubt above the Potomac, with owners to match.

                            2. I would avoid Old Europe. Every time I go there the meat is dry and the sides are sub-par. I have always enjoyed Cafe Berlin. The meat is tasty and the sides, esp. asparagus (Spargel) are great. They also have some good imported beers on tap. The wine list is decent. Service very good and the owner is Austrian and pleasant.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: RMHRosa18

                                I agree with you about Cafe Berlin. Good food, good service. If you sign up for their email updates, you will be notified of specials in advance.

                              2. Although not really good and barely decent, don't overlook Blob's Park in Jessup (open weekends) for the closest thing we have to Oktoberfest atmosphere.

                                1. By far the best I've been to in this country is Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown, MD (www.schmankerlstube.com). It's a long drive, but so very worth it. It's like you walk through the door and are back in your favorite neighborhood place in Munchen. Make sure you have a designated driver!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Ell Gee

                                    I've been to the Schmankerl Stube. It was okay, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the best in the country, at least from my experience. The appetizers were decent, and the potato salad was probably the best thing we had all night. However, the meat entrees were overcooked and subsequently tough. Perhaps they had an off night? Sadly, it's the best German food I've had in Maryland, and worth it for the beer and atmosphere alone.

                                    This won't help the original poster, but if you want REALLY good German food, the absolute best place I've ever been in the U.S. is the Kleiner Deutschmann:

                                    http://thekleinerdeutschmann.com/

                                    It's in Pittsburgh, which believe it or not has a rich German culinary tradition and has quite a few great restaurants. I also recommend Max's Allegheny Tavern. I would add a link but I don't think they have a current website.

                                    1. re: Tonsil

                                      The pork shank, man. Specialty of the house. That's the way to go.

                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                        Finally got around to trying this place. Pre-ordered the schweinshaxe and it was really good. The best I've had anywhere is at Brauhaus Schmitz in Philly: easily twice the size of the one at Schmankerlstube, aggressively seasoned. You could cut the meat with a fork and the "crackling" was like a bacon flavored potato chip. Served with some kraut and washed down with a liter of good pilsner. I encourage any German food fan to skip the cheesesteaks and try this pork shank.

                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                          The shank they served us at Der Schmank was more like a small ham. Two of us worked it over and there was still enough to make a pot of black beans when we got home. Pure porky heaven.

                                    2. re: Ell Gee

                                      Ill second that about the designated driver. Or a nearby hotel... Its the only place I know of that happily offers 5 liter size portions for any of their fine beers. :O

                                    3. I've heard Cafe Mozart in DC has good German fare from friends. Have not gone myself however.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: chaofun

                                        Cafe Mozart in DC is pretty good. Very authentic. They even have vegetarian portobello schnitzel. In addition, to the restaurant they have a little deli and store. I would reccomend.

                                      2. Heidelberg bakery/pastry shop is very good. They have quite a few german specialties.

                                        http://www.heidelbergbakery.com/

                                        1. Not to be negative but Old Europe has been horrible both times i have been there and the service was rude. The second time I actually sent my food back and it was not removed from the tab.

                                          1. If you are out that way, the Bavarian inn in Shephardstown WV is excellent. Good food and good wine..

                                            1. Another thought, the Cafe Leopold in Georgetown is also very good.

                                              1. I heard recently on WAMU that Blob's Park in Jessup has reopened. The owner said they added pork shanks to the menu, and it is, in his opinion, the best thing they offer.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MartinDC

                                                  I've been dying for some Schweinehaxen! Blobs is only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'll definitely be checking it out. And it's only a short distance from Grace Garden and their AMAZING Szechuan tongue/tendon/tripe.

                                                  Cafe Berlin near Union Station is pretty decent, but certainly not worth going out of your way.

                                                2. Cafe Berlin on the Hill

                                                  1. Personally, I think good German food is kind of oxymoronic but we (including German fiance) prefer Old Europe to Cafe Berlin for the food. CB has better ambiance.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: filth

                                                      There's PLENTY of good German food! Schweinehaxen, schnitzels, wursts mit krauts. It's just that there are very few good German restaurants serving that in DC. What you get here is mediocre, at best. You pretty much have to go out to Annapolis to get anthing resembling the real deal.

                                                      http://www.oldstein-inn.com/

                                                      -----
                                                      Old Stein Inn
                                                      1143 Mayo Rd, Edgewater, MD 21037

                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                        Agreed. Germans love their food, and when in Germany - the food of others. They LOVE food. Good stuff.

                                                        Hochzeitsmal.

                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                          I can not figure out what the appeal is about Old Stein Inn. If you are familiar at all with German food, this place isn't worth it. I have been there on three different occasion and have been disappointed each time. I will give them kudos for their beer selection, but the food, not so much.

                                                      2. What about Henning's in Frederick?

                                                        I've eaten there a number of times and enjoyed the goulash soup and combination wurst platter. The dumplings are a bit "tough" though.

                                                        They usually have four or five excellent German beers on draft.

                                                        I believe the owner at Henning's is the same as the original owner/chef of the old "Wurzburg Haus" at Redland. Wurzburg Haus has been gone for several years now.

                                                        1. I wouldn't recommend making the trip for the Old Stein Inn for the food (South of Annapolis in Mayo). The beer is great, the beer garden fun, if that is what you are after, but the food is so below par. Now this is based upon one visit and maybe their wursts or other items are better, but they gave me no reason to return. I lived in Germany and have gone back to visit several times, so I am very familiar with German food.

                                                          My gauge for a good German eatery is how well they can prepare wiener schitzel and spaetzle, practically the national dish. Boy was I disappointed. Although expertly fried and crisp, the meat was woefully underseasoned and tasteless. I chose the pork version vs. the veal, since I had no idea about the quality of meat served there, and veal can be tricky so I opted for the pork, which by nature has a much stronger flavor. I could have been eating a bowl of cereal without the milk. My dining companion had a similar preparation but stuffed with ham and cheese. How can you mess that up???? Neither one of us could taste a difference between our two dishes. C'mon.

                                                          Spaetzle are just tiny dumplings that I make at home all the time. You have to season them, just like pasta, and an added bonus is to saute them in a bit of bacon grease or brown butter to add some flavor. Adding some herbs, or garlic doesn't hurt either, but it's not a necessity. Again, the dish was tasteless. It was if I was eating this meal during a full blown head cold.

                                                          We recently moved just miles from this place, and I really wanted it to become my go to spot for a nice homey dinner. Guess if I want good schnitzel and spaetzle , I'm pulling out my own pans.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: BontheC

                                                            I'm with you. Nothing to rave about when it comes to the Old Stein Inn.

                                                          2. Check out Cafe Mozart in DC. Monthly live Opera Night and great German Austria cuisine!

                                                            1. Great to read that there are some German restaurants over there, but just to inform you a little better:
                                                              The Wiener Schnitzel is NEVER pork! A Wiener Schnitzel is not even a GERMAN dish its from Vienna (Wien) and ALWAYS veal.. restaurants in Germany who would sell a piece of porc as a Wiener Schnitzel will have to pay a penalty! What you talk about is a "Schnitzel Wiener Art which can be any meat. And its not that Spätzle would be the Germans favorite side!! This is a speciality of Baden-Würtemberg (a federal State in the South next to Bavaria, and Spätzle are Pasta! A Jägerschnitzel is never crispy and never covered with breadcrumps! (served with mushroom gravy and Pasta or rice) Usually the side dish varies from north to south. Schnitzel Wiener Art comes mostly with frenchfries nowadays and might be the most popular dish all over Germany. And nope, not all Germans love Sauerkraut lol

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: cgruenig

                                                                FYI, Biergarten Haus is coming to H Street NE within the week: outdoor seating, huge steins, soccer matches projected on the walls, wursts, schnitzels, and hopefully some scweinehaxen.

                                                                http://voices.washingtonpost.com/goin...

                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                  As a big fan of German food and biergartene, we were really disappointed in the quality of the food (the beer is great and the atmosphere, especially out back in the garden, is GREAT). We ate there several times between their opening and last fall and gave up on the food after a half-dozen meals. I've heard they've improved the cooking substantially, so we'll give it another try now that the weather's warmed up.

                                                              2. If anyone is a fan of The Bavarian Chef in Madison, Va., they are opening up a second restaurant approvixmately the last week of April 2010 in the old Train Station in Fredericksburg off Lafayette Blvd. It is where the old Claibornes Restaurant used to be. I'm waiting for more information in my local paper. This restaurant has quite a following and many people are happy to hear about another one opening.

                                                                1. My personal favorite German deli would be Binkert's on Philadelphia Rd in Rosedale.

                                                                  http://www.binkerts.com/

                                                                  I would highly recommend the Bauernwurst!

                                                                  1. I lived in Stuttgart for 2 years and really love German food. my choice for German dining in DC is Cafe Mozart......... it's exactly like a 1970's Gasthaus

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Cafe Mozart
                                                                    1331 H St NW # 1, Washington, DC

                                                                    1. It's probably sacrilege, but my favorite places for German food have been Bosnian/Serbian eateries like Balkan Grill and Cosmopolitan Grill. The schnitzel at the latter is perfectly fried (not greasy), tender, and the size of a hubcap. It also runs around $18; still cheaper than anything I've had downtown and enough for two. Balkan Grill does an excellent doner kebab; not as good as Doner Bistro in Leesburg, but it's also not an hour's drive away.

                                                                      Stopped by Old Europe recently just for the hell of it. The schnitzel was poor, beer was decent.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                        I don't think that this is sacrilege around here. Part of my reason for saying so is that the food there is very good (at least at the Cosmopolitan; haven't tried the Balkan Grill), and the other part is that the German restaurants here aren't so great.

                                                                        When I lived in Germany (as a student some time ago), many of the restaurants in the small city that I lived in were run by people from Yugoslavia. So I don't think it's that uncommon for Bosnians/Serbians to have lived in Germany, where they could have learned how to cook German food. IIRC, the person who owns the Cosmopolitan Grill lived in Vienna for some time.

                                                                        1. re: Lori D

                                                                          Agreed. Countries that have a history of invading/being invaded by their neighbors are always going to have some culinary spillover. It was Turkish "gastarbeiter" who brought doner kebabs to Germany in the first place. I'm just saying there might be snobs out there who would think (erroneously) that only Germans know how to cook German food. Cosmopolitan proves otherwise.

                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                            If I'm not mistaken, the chef of Cosmopolitan worked for years at a pretty good restaurant in Germany before moving to the US.

                                                                      2. There was a pretty good German place in Hagerstown, altho it's been a while since I was there, but a friend said it was still good http://www.schmankerlstube.com/

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: tartuffe

                                                                          I was at Schmankerl Stube a couple of weeks ago and enjoyed a very generous portion of the Wednesday special, pork shank bavarian style (lots of delicious leftovers). The prices are reasonable, the service is good, and most importantly, the food is delicious.

                                                                          There is also outside seating in back.

                                                                          1. re: Vidute

                                                                            The seating out back is the biergarten. Great place to while away the afternoon. The pork shank is huge, crusty, juicy and delicious.

                                                                        2. Cafe mozart I think is a deli, not a restaurant. or at least the website makes me think that.

                                                                          Also, OLD EUROPE IS AWFUL! the service is bad, the food isn't as amazing as the price would make it seem, and I hear that Cafe Berlin is great and not as pricey.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: saxman930

                                                                            Cafe Mozart is a restaurant, with a deli up front. Along with the good and mostly authentic meals, there is live music..

                                                                            http://www.cafemozartdc.com/ The new site seems to stil be under construction.

                                                                            The below deli website also has the menu for the restaurant.

                                                                            http://www.cafemozartgermandeli.com/z...

                                                                          2. also I hear Brasserie Beck is good. I know its belgium, but still a good euro place.

                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                            1. re: saxman930

                                                                              ahem, we and our output are Belgian thank you very much. it's the country that ends in "-ium". or as Monty Python once appelled "Bloody Belgian Bastards" (ya gotta a better/worse derogative? bring it. the attention is craved, really it is) but yeah food-wise close enough.

                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                Having eaten traditional (and contemporary) foods in Germany and Belgium, I don't think Belgian food is "close enough" to German food.

                                                                                I think anyone looking for authentic/traditional German food would not get close to that at Et Voila!, Brasserie Beck, or Belga Cafe.

                                                                                I've had very good experiences with the food, beer, and service at Old Europe. Sounds like saxman930 definitely hasn't (the all caps seem to strongly reinforce that). Despite the restaurant's longevity, I don't think the staff, cooks, or owners have let the place go stale. Sure, it is a throw back. But the younger owner (I think he took over from his parents a few years back) is very passionate about the food and overall experience. The place is usually packed on the weekends, so I'd recommend reservations to avoid a long wait. For years, a blind pianist provided background music. I've heard recent reports that she is no longer playing.

                                                                                1. re: jfw

                                                                                  oh please never take me too seriously. but I do maintain in the US the subtle differences aren't going to be noticed. I could argue Friesian vs. Norman until the cows get bored and wander off (and don't get me started on Walloons) but yeah CB has seen better days.

                                                                                  I like Belga (but then I'm a BBB) great? nah but ok? yes.

                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                    Sorry, hill food. I really don't think differences between German food and Belgian food are subtle. Like, not even remotely. Can you tell me more about dishes or techniques that are barely discernible from one another? I am honestly interested to hear how and why you think they are kindred. Specifics, please.

                                                                                    To me, it's like if the original poster asked for a recommendation for the best ham sandwich around and someone piped in to say, "Can't help you with a ham sandwich, but Joe Schmo Sandwich Board makes a mean turkey sandwich." Just because they are both sandwiches doesn't make them anything alike or particularly relevant to the original poster.

                                                                                    What is 'CB?'

                                                                                    1. re: jfw

                                                                                      this is an old thread but as somebody asked CB = Cafe Berlin.

                                                                                      the techniques are really the same, just the ingredients and herbs vary. Belgian does owe more to France and German is a lot more nuanced than gets credit. that sums up my point. if one said Korean marinated beef was vastly different than German (Bulgogi vs. Sauerbraten) I'd said yeah! and may I have a bit of both please?

                                                                                      but a good schnitzel against a nicely prepared escalope? same thing at the end of the day.

                                                                                      and Belgians don't have much to claim (and please don't say waffles and Hercule Poirot) so leave us the trampled ground of international cuisine. let us wallow in the muddy wake of the Hapsburgs and all that lot brought.

                                                                                      1. re: hill food

                                                                                        But do the Germans make muscles and french fries (I said it), obsess about mayonnaise and put coriander in their beer? ;) By the way, thats no knock on Belgian cuisine. Ill take both thank you. And I freely admit I deserve all the accusations of "Idiot. Theres more to Belgian food then just..." that are right now building up in the minds of so many foodies as they read this. Although a couple weeks ago I did make a Belgian Carbonnade with a nice Gueuze.

                                                                                        1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                          heck I learned to put mayo on my frites in Germany. and don't even start on what they'll use to flavor their beer (coriander, hmm new to me). I'm really not being pissy, but in the US it's sorta like arguing over Illinois vs. Ohio.

                                                                                          and feel free to call me an idiot. I actually sort of respect people more when they feel comfy enough to do so.

                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                            Ha ha! Well clearly you have never had deep dish in Cleveland! But never having visited Belgium I will certainly take your word for the cross over of the cuisine there. I guess it just goes against the notions of most Americans (like me) whose only notion of the two cuisines involve clean and clear differences between traditional Bavarian meat heavy dishes and the nuanced saucy franco preparations of Belgium. And yes it gets much worse than coriander unfortunately...

                                                                                            1. re: Insidious Rex

                                                                                              hey I Rex - I guess that's what I was getting at as in: Southern or 'High' German is a bit different from Northern or 'Low'. each influenced more by adjacency than national identity that's all.

                                                                            2. Here's a vote for Cafe Einstein in Fells Point. Have only been for lunch (I believe dinner is also served), but excellent sausage and cheese plate, also curry-wurst.

                                                                              1. Duesenbergs American Cafe in Catonsville, MD, becomes a German restaurant Wednesday through Saturday Evenings from 5:30. The menu is smallish, but the food is authentic and made from scratch by a German cook with over 30 years experience. Scnhnitzel and spaetzle, sauerbraten with both potato and bread dumplings, carrot salad, potato salad, and pretzels in the bread basket. Very tasty. Essen gut.

                                                                                http://www.duesenbergsgermandinners.com/