Sour Kraut in Nyack?
Saw the comingsoon sign on the window a couple of weeks ago and i'm intrigued.. Anyone pass by lately? better yet, anyone know how soon is soon now?
Apparently they're doing a soft opening this weekend. Marianne Olive, the owner, posted this on a local board: To all those future patrons who have been waiting patiently for Sour Kraut to open, we have finally opened our doors tonight. It's been a long process and we worked very hard to make this little wonderful and warm German Restaurant the very best possible for the small space we have.
Please come and join us for a limited menu Saturday Oct 9th and Sunday Oct 10th. We are offering a discounted price menu for our opening and hope you will all be patient as we get all the kinks out of our business. thank you for your patronage
Well, I went -- having finally gotten past the impossibly cute (or just corny) name, depending on your point of view, I guess. They are now indeed open, albeit somewhat disorganized. While I was there, the patrons were repeatedly asked to ignore the menu that was posted in the window (a printed version was also not given), but to refer instead to the blackboard behind the bar, for what was actually available that day. That worked well enough if you were inside, but the people seated at the sidewalk tables would have to go inside, read, memorize, then go back outside to order. This blackboard was also updated several times during lunch, apparently as additional dishes were being finished in the kitchen by two chefs plus a helper.
First the good news. The waitstaff was very friendly, and tried very hard to please. The owner (Marianne Olive, as referenced above) was also on site, greeting patrons and trying to keep things running smoothly. The restaurant has the best selection of German beers west of the Lazyboy Saloon in White Plains, and north of Yorkville in the City.
Now for the bad. In general, the food was OK, but only "OK" and certainly not an OK3. While scarce, there are better, much better, German restaurants in the Westchester/Rockland area, and certainly in the City.
But, what really sets "Sour Kraut" apart from the competition, and not just the German competition, are its prices, which are just simply ridiculous. Particularly for the quality of food, how it's served, and the portions involved. I'm not a "big portion = it must be good" patron by any means, far from it, -- but $23.00 for a lunch consisting of a couple of sausages, and two "sides" served in small ramekins plopped on your plate next to the wurst, well, that's simply egregious. $19.00 for two hot dogs smothered in a supposed "curry" sauce -- but really just ketchup with some curry added (and nothing like the stuff they serve in Germany) -- is even more egregious. Again, this is for L-U-N-C-H. Further, at these prices, bread, either before or during the meal, was never offered. I would think that if you are going to serve a spoonful of potato salad as a "side," at least have some bread available.
There were no appetizers, other than a soup. A couple of additional lunch entrees were also listed on the board (e.g., Leberkäse), all priced above $20.00. The much touted Sauerbraten written up in the early press announcements was nowhere in sight, and which when available, given the sausage and hot dog pricing structure, will I presume, probably hit the lunch menu in the high twenties, if not the low thirties. The absolute lowest priced offering was a simple hot dog on a bun for $8.00, with no sides.
Just by comparison, Hallo Berlin in the City, similar in decor and better in food, serves a two (2) sausage lunch special (with three sides), for $9.00 -- at dinner, with soup added, that goes up to $17.00. At "Sour Kraut", that same meal will set you back $23.00 -- for lunch. Even the notoriously expensive hot dogs at Yankee Stadium are cheaper -- and you get an actual live baseball game to go with them.
On the drinks front (they do have a full liquor license), the beers start at $7.00 bottle, then go quickly to $8.50, with several in the $9.00 up to $12.00 range. Three German beers are available on tap.
The decor consists of natural blond wood/exposed brick walls, Formica tables on metal column bases, black and white poster photos on the wall, not a tablecloth in sight, and a unisex bathroom accessible unfortunately only past the open (and almost full) garbage can in the kitchen itself. Prices aside, the food was simply not that good. The potatoes in the "German" potato salad were hard and undercooked; the seasoning bland to non-existent -- what bacon bits? The "creamy" cucumber salad was also completely bland, and any cream that should have dressed it had long ago run to the bottom of the tiny ramekin, possibly to disappear entirely forever. The sausages (from Kocher's in Ridgefield, NJ) were also mediocre -- there's a reason why most German places in the Tri-State area either make their own (the best way), or else simply rely on Schaller & Weber or Karl Ehmer. Sour Kraut's tube steaks were heavily grilled to the point of being dry -- most German restaurants do not grill their sausages to drying out, but rather pan or griddle fry them, like, well, most Germans do as well. Finally, also on offer to try, was some kind of ham/cheese/peppers salad (loosely based, I guess, on the German Wurst-Käse-Salat or the more common and famous Fleischsalat). What was served, instead, seemed more like leftovers (I'm sure it was not, of course), and while the "real McCoy" has wurst (not ham), cheese, onions, vinegar, gherkins and/or radishes, etc., this had none of the vinegar tartness of the real thing that some of the more authentic ingredients would have produced. It simply tasted (and looked) like a generic deli salad mix. And, nothing artful about the presentation either (yet another ramakin). After the experience with the entrees, I skipped the dessert.
There you have it, -- an excellent selection of beers, priced a dollar or several higher than the competition. Mediocre food, outrageously priced significantly higher than the competition, especially for a lunch menu. Especially in Nyack. And, quality not as good as the others, i.e., Hallo Berlin, Silver Swan, Old Heidelberg, Jennifer's, Zum Stammtisch, or even the Swiss Brasserie in Ossining. All are more viable, and much better, alternatives.
I had high hopes for the place, and I wish them the best of luck.
MAJOR BUMMER...$8 frankfurter!??!? wow... takes balls to charge that much and not stuff it it fois gras... i was so looking forward to this place (I haven't had REAL German food (not kitchy quasi-Bavarian chow in a very very long time.)). I'll be looking into the other restaurants you sited...thanks for the honest review!
i know they're new, but the place really needs to get a website up and running.. (this is my latest 21st century restaurant pet peeve- it pays to post up)...Nyack's a haul for me, and i'd rather not drive up to peak at a menu.
Fully agree with 90% of the people on this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/628214