When I think of German food in Queens Zum Stammtisch always held the higher mark for best in food and ambiance. However there were a few great German restaurants dating back over fifteen years, in the area that could hold their ground as well. Gebhardt’s, Von Westerhagen, Neidersteins (now replaced by an Arby’s?!–what a crime!) Below my breif review of Zum Stammtisch, I took the liberty of a review of Manor Octoberfest of Forest Hills as the best German restaurant in Queens, so you can avoid the troubling and expensive lesson I learned AGAIN at Zum.
These restaurants I have named above were located in close proximity to Zum Stammtisch and were a viable alternative to the top dog of German food. But all have closed up shop which bothers me greatly because now we have no more than one option.
Here is a snapshot into my experience at the only remaining German restaurant in Queens which took place last week on October 29th, 2013.
When I walked into Zum Stammtisch last Tuesday in the early evening with my partner, who had never had German food prior, out greeting was less than welcoming. The petite blond, who left out the greeting portion of our entering the restaurant, immediately asked us both quite sternly “Do you have a reservation??!” Her demeanor was so intense I felt like walking out right then and there. Not the preferred method to treat your guests. To expound on this point just for a moment, I owned a restaurant-I always had customer service and customer management as a top priority, even when the meal was over and I thanked her upon my exit, there was no reply although she looked right at me, no acknowledgement of my thanks for dining at Zum Stammtisch.
The herring in cream sauce was more lettuce covered in cream sauce with a few herring fragments and heave on the raw onion, hmmm.. A game of hide the herring to be sure.
Sauerbraten was average at best, no onion, no carrot no gingersnaps, rather a mass produced meat hidden below a hot gelatinous swimming pool of sauce. The side dumpling was far from proper temperature for serving and there is not much that is more unappealing than cold potato balls..
Pork loin Special was enjoyable, nice cut of meat and well prepared..
Our server was amazing, she cared about our meals and served our meals with genuine enthusiasm. Our young bus boy was so desiring to do the best job possible and succeeded in every aspect.
What does this experience leave with me in terms of food and service? It does have a familiar hora of when only remains and all competitors have been vested, we can act and dictate terms any way we wish.
My recommendation: Manor Octoberfest of Forest Hills.
Manor Oktoberfest is located at the small strip of storefronts along Yellowstone Blvd, just off of Selfridge Street in Forest Hills, NY.
Having been there many times thus far, it is my feeling that the restaurant is great for families to dine, couples on a simple evening out for dessert or with the fellas for some drink and delectable fare.
The tap beers offered at Manor Oktoberfest, will have the German and craft brew enthusiast stoked from the moment he/she opens the beer menu for a peruse. Franziskaner Weissbier on tap is my staple beer of choice, but your options are really as limited to only your palate and desire to try something new.
With my dining partner in tow, we sat for an early Saturday dinner and ordered off the specials board as the choices were so interesting. The chicken liver platter for starters is what this partial German has enjoyed for years growing up at Oma and Opa’s, although we did not address them as such.
The Eggplant Tower was wonderful in presentation and flavor. Thin cut slices, deep fried and layered with vine ripe tomato and mozzarella, topped with Pesto. Presentation was a ten out of ten and taste was scored equally. The Wild Boar burger, cooked medium rare was not game-y as I had anticipated, in fact it seemed to be more vegetable in texture and flavor than a being from the animal kingdom, but I have nothing but praise for the dish.