I passed it so many times. Each time my curiosity was piqued. That little piece of 2nd ave that looks just like a German cottage with wrought iron around the windows that have flower boxes beneath them, lanterns flanking the door, and faux exposed wooden beams. You can’t see much when you look through the windows from the outside, but every now and then I would catch a glimpse of someone in lederhosen. Done deal. The inside is just as cozy and cottage-like as the outside with various German accents and trinkets and wood details. And yes, the hosts, servers, and bartenders are all dressed in traditional German attire. It should go without saying that there’s quite a selection of German schnaps and beers (both on draft and bottled) here. Interesting note: According to their website, the draft beer takes 7 minutes to pour. There is also a variety of sizes to order your beer in–small…medium…large…boot. Boot?! Yup, you can get a 2 liter glass boot of beer at Heidelberg. Just know that cash deposits are required for all boots as insurance in case you break it. You know some crazy things must’ve happened with a policy like that. But I was here for the food. It’s such a rarity that I eat German food, and I don’t know why I don’t do it more often because after this meal, I was in heaven. It was especially delightful, because of the cold, grey, rainy mess that was outside and eating such hearty, warm food is really the best remedy for weather like that. I know a lot of you must be thinking, “So, what is there to German food besides sausage and schnitzel?” Well, let me tell you! There are dishes like käse spätzle (German pasta roasted with onions, garlic, parsley, cream, and Emmenthaler cheese), marinated herring, leberknödel suppe (liver dumpling in beef stock), kasseler rippschen (brined and smoked pork chop), and schweinshaxe (oven roasted pork shank). Oh, and yeah, tons of sausage and schnitzel 😉 But, even those are offered here in more variations than you’re probably used to. For the former, there’s bauernwurst, bratwurst, chicken bratwurst, kariner brand, knackwurst, and weisswurst; and for the latter, there’s wiener schnitzel, schnitzer vinaigrette, jäger schnitzel, and schnitzel à la holstein. Phew. I know I just threw a whole bunch at you, but I want to get the point across that there’s a world of German food out there for you to explore. My friend and I started with the potato pancakes as an appetizer, and I ordered the jäger schnitzel as my main. These were the BEST freakin’ potato pancakes I’ve EVER had. I’m so used to potato pancakes that are all crisp and essentially just like clumps of hash browns, but these are not that. They were crispy on the outside yes, but absolutely pillowy inside, really getting at the “pancake” part of “potato pancakes.” So much thick, flavorful potato goodness, made even better with a bit of the applesauce they served alongside. If you come here, get these. I’ve had schnitzel before (which is just boneless meat, pounded down, breaded, and fried), but my entree was something totally new for me. It was veal schnitzel sauteed with onions, mushrooms, and garlic in a white wine and cream reduction. Plus, it was served with spätzle and red cabbage. The combination of schnitzel with cream sauce was divine, and as you can see, seriously huge portions here. Just look at how much spätzle they gave me as a SIDE!!
The prices are a little on the high side, but I had enough leftovers for a whole other meal so it pretty much evened itself out. I definitely left feeling not only completely stuffed but also completely satisfied. Why has it taken me so long to come here?! Shame on me. Oh, and of course, Heidelberg knows how to do Oktoberfest. Enough said.
Potato pancakes, jäger schnitzel
1648 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10028