Visited on Friday, May 27 with Jake and Allison
Ben's ReviewErin heard about spargelfest at Black Forest Inn and wanted to check it out. Her parents took Annie up to the cabin one day early on Memorial Day weekend, so we took the opportunity to meet our friends Jake and Allison for dinner before heading up ourselves on Friday night.
I had heard that Black Forest Inn had a great patio, but I wasn’t really excited to try this place out. After having what I considered to be bland, uninteresting food in Germany during our honeymoon, I had written off their food entirely. Spargelfest sounded cool, and I do like asparagus, so we headed over after work.
It was cold out the day we went, so the patio wasn’t going to happen, which was unfortunate. The inside of Black Forest Inn reminded me of the beer halls in Germany with the high, painted ceilings, the woodwork, and the customers and staff.
We had arrived early which gave us plenty of time to look over the menu and consider our options. I started with a beer (Erin insisted that I get a German beer, which I was going to anyway) and got the Paulaner Salvator.
I was surprised at how much of the food actually seemed good, not what my prejudiced mind was expecting, which was nice. I actually didn’t end up getting any spargelfest specialty, but I made sure to try Erin’s asparagus soup. I went traditional and got the bratwurst dinner which consisted of two bratwurst links, hot German potato salad, sauerkraut, and rye bread. I also noticed that they had a maibock mentioned on the spargelfest menu that was not on the beer list, so I got a maibock with my meal as well (can’t recall the brand now).
I was amazed at how good this food was. I don’t know if I just happened to get bad food in Germany, or if my tastes have changed in the past five years. The bratwurst was excellent, and I even slightly enjoyed my sauerkraut. The best part though, was the hot potato salad. I had breezed over the word ‘hot’ in the menu and was expecting the cold variety that we know and love. This potato salad was phenomenal and I fully intend to try making this at home because it cannot be that difficult.
Jake and I also got to have the lion’s share of Erin’s pork because she had ordered a ridiculously sized portion for herself and found herself not really needing her third slab of meat. Needless to say we left incredibly full and with leftovers for the cabin.
Service: The service was just OK, it took awhile to get our drinks and orders taken. Our server changed halfway through, so there must have been a shift change or something going on.
Food: The food was excellent and the portions were huge.
Drinks: Small beer list, but they have light and dark German beers and a couple macro brews.
Ambiance: Kind of loud and boisterous, while also friendly, which also reminded me of Germany.
Convenience: Black Forest Inn actually has a parking lot, which I did not realize. We parked on the street, and we’ve always managed to find a close street spot when we come to this area.
Like many places on our list, I'd been wanting to go to Black Forest Inn for many many years. German food just isn't high on my wish list, however. The patio was the biggest selling point for me, so I was pretty disappointed that it was cold and raining on the day we planned to go. I do definitely think we'll have to go back sometime to sit on the patio, because it looks beautiful!
Ben and I took our honeymoon, now 5.5 years ago, to Germany, and Jake and Allison just went on a trip to Germany last year, so it was fun for all of us to reminisce about our time in the FATHERLAND (not Motherland as I sometimes have been known to mistakenly say).
I was having a REALLY hard time figuring out what to order. I started off with a refreshing root beer, and then stared at the menu for a good 20 minutes while we waited for Jake and Allison to show up. I knew I wanted SOMETHING with asparagus, and wanted a pretzel. Those were my basic requirements.
Finally I decided to order the asparagus soup as a starter - it was creamy and delicious, with mostly pureed asparagus but with enough chunks to make it interesting. It brought back pleasant memories of the asparagus soup I had in Amsterdam on the last night of our vacation in Europe 2 years ago.
After MUCH deliberation, I decided to go with the hausplatte - it was described on the menu as "A generous sampling of rippchen, bratwurst, polish sausage, red cabbage, sauerkraut, and potato salad. Served with a fresh-baked pretzel and homemade mustard". I mistakenly thought that this would be a "sample" plate - which is what it said on the menu. But no. This was FULL portions of EACH of those meats, PLUS a pretzel and full orders of each of those sides. Um. A bit much for me, you could say. I did think this was DELICIOUS - especially the pretzel. The only thing I wasn't a fan of was the "rippchen" which was some kind of huge slab of pork. No thanks. Anyway - my advice is that this plate is PLENTY for two people. I made good headway with the brat and potato salad, and some saurkraut but that was about it. Far too much for one or even probably two people. Despite the solo pretzels not being anywhere that I could see on the menu, you can just order one on the side. Probably a better idea than ordering an enormous meal just because it came with a pretzel. Oh well, live and learn.
Black Forest Inn was friendly and inviting - everyone seemed to be having a great time. Upon looking at their website, they have a kids menu and I saw plenty of high chairs too. We might have to go back with Annie in tow for a patio visit later this summer.
1 East 26th Street