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Black Forest Inn

6 Jan

Ryan
We are anything but newcomers to the Black Forest Inn fare. Lauren and I on many occasions have frequented the BFI in the summer to sit on their cozy fenced-in patio, complete with plants, fountain, and fun lighting. Of course the selection of great German beers on tap are the real draw for our summer nights out. I’ll take a Hackerr-Pschorr or Paulaner over a Budweiser or Coors any day! We once or twice have sampled the food menu, but it is a little on the spendy side and definitely is for special occasions only.

But lucky for us, it was a special occasion on a recent Saturday when brother-in-law Tim chose the Black Forest Inn to celebrate his 32nd birthday. We arrived for beers at 11am and an hour later ordered from the lunch menu. I had recently won $100 in gift cards for designing the Oktoberfest menu cover, and was prepared to go all out!

After 1.5 liters of Hacken-Pschorr Oktoberfest beer, Lauren and I received our Bratwurst Dinner, which for $18 included a bratwurst, a Polish sausage, and the special sausage of the day, the chicken curry sausage, along with hot potato salad, seasoned sauerkraut, and fresh rye bread. Those sausages were all amazing, especially the special chicken curry one. Lauren gobbled up almost all of the potatoes, but what I had were excellent. And it seems weird to eat hot sauerkraut with a spoon, but there was so much of it that’s just what I did. Could I have eaten the whole thing by myself? Uh, yes, no problem. But we were sharing and that was fine.

Black Forest Inn, Minneapolis, Bratwurst Dinner

Bratwurst Dinner (for lunch, for 2) at Black Forest Inn

Again, since I was more or less eating on the Black Forest’s dime, I opted for dessert and chose a piece of chocolate cake with butter cream frosting. It was very dense and heavy, and the waitress assumed I’d be sharing it with others, though I ate 90% of it myself.

Chocolate cake for dessert at Black Forest Inn

Chocolate cake for dessert at Black Forest Inn

Black Forest Inn does a great job of making patrons feel like they’re really in Germany! Much like Gasthof zur Gemutlicheit in Northeast Minneapolis, Black Forest has a great beer selection, authentic German delicacies, and going there is more of an all-around experience than just a meal. As usual, high marks on all accounts from me.

Lauren

I don’t know quite what to say that Ryan already hasn’t, since we shared one meal. BFI’s patio is my absolute  favorite of all in Minneapolis. It has the most divine quality of making you forget that you’re sitting feet away from a very busy intersection of Minneapolis (26th & Nicollet) but you feel like you’re in a garden, with the sparkling fountain and the pretty little lights at night.

On to the food, I liked both the bratwurst and the sausage but I thought that the chicken curry sausage was lacking, it was rather pathetic in appearance and flavor, even with the curry, compared to the other sausages.

But I’m not here to talk about that. What I’m here to talk about is the potato salad. It was hot. And sour. I’ve never had anything like it. And oh, oh, I loved it so.

And that’s all.

The Necessities

1 East 26th Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55404
612.872.0812

Gasthof Zur Gemütlichkeit

16 Jun

Ryan:

Tuesday evening, Lauren and I went to Gasthof Zur Gemütlichkeit, a Minneapolis landmark German restaurant featured on a recent episode of “Man vs. Food.”  Lauren’s brother Matt and his new girlfriend Calla were also on hand, as was Lauren’s sister Kate.

Located in Nordeast Minneapolis, Gasthof Zur Gemütlichkeit (or Gasthof’s, as it is more commonly known) is an authentic German experience, from the Hacken Pschorr beers on tap to the waitresses in dirndl dresses. Most locals will tell you it’s something worth experiencing if you’re visiting the Twin Cities.

This was definitely not the first time I’ve been there. Lauren and I were there for my company’s Christmas party last year and were treated to a buffet and all the liters of beer we could drink. I had also been to the downstairs bar, Mario’s Keller Bar, a few times in the past. But Tuesday was the first time I came as a guest and just ordered food off the menu.

After starting off with a half-liter of Paulaner Hefeweizen, we were given loaves of bread and salads. Lauren, Kate, and I then decided to split the Gourmet Platter, which consisted of Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal), Sauerbraten (marinated roast beef), Kaseschnitzel (breaded pork chop), Huhnchen (chicken with peppercorn sauce), spätzle, potato croquettes, red cabbage, vegetables, and shots of Apfelkorn Liqueur.

Gourmet Platter at Gasthof zur Gemulichkeit

Our Gourmet Platter, full of heavy breaded meaty goodness

Between the three of us, we failed to finish the whole Gourmet Platter. But that was more than okay with me, as I saved the leftovers and ate them for a hearty lunch the next day. My favorite of the items on the platter was probably the chicken, which was delicious when combined with a forkful of cabbage and spätzle. Everything seen above was very delicious, though. I don’t know if I have had veal before or not, but it was tender and succulent. I’m a big fan of gravy, so the roast beef smothered in gravy was also to my liking.

After dinner, the waitress came by with her springboard contraption that shoots a menthol snus into the nostrils, clearing the sinuses and providing a clean after-dinner feel.

Ryan Glanzer snus Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit

I have some snus shot into my nose.

Since we were all meeting Calla for the first time, we stuck around a while after dinner and chatted amongst ourselves. Oh, and we ordered a 2-liter glass boot filled with beer, which has many rules for drinking. The group must share “das boot” and pass it around to one another. The boot must never touch the table until it is empty. Once you get down far enough, an air bubble pops out of the toe of the boot, sometimes splashing the drinker in the face. If you are splashed, you must drink again. You must also clink the boot with your fingers to signify the end of your turn; forget to do so and you must drink again. I was too full to get much enjoyment out of it, but it was pretty cool and I want to buy a glass boot for our apartment!

Matt Poulter drinks from das boot.

Matt Poulter drinks from das boot.

The accordionist also paid our table a visit and sang some funny German songs. Soon it appeared we were the last table remaining, and we were visited by the owner of the restaurant, Mario himself. He even sent us over a round of free shots to show his gratitude for our patronage.

The accordionist at Gasthof zur Gemulichkeit sings to Matt and Calla.

The accordionist sings to Matt and Calla.

Not only was the food and drink excellent, but everything else was great too—the music, the waitresses, the owner, the atmosphere. The bill was pretty steep, but that was expected going in. Our platter was $48 with an additional $8 charge for splitting it between three people instead of the intended two. Beers were $5.50 each and the glass boot of beer was $22. Nevertheless, I’d say we probably got our money’s worth.

Gasthof Zur Gemütlichkeit is one of my favorite places we’ve reviewed so far and I would highly recommend it to anyone visiting from out of town. The only bad thing I can mention is their lack of patio. Minneapolis’s other German restaurant, The Black Forest Inn, has the city’s very best patio.

5/5 Noms!

Lauren:

I was surprised when my brother told me he wanted to organise a little dinner at Gasthof’s for us to meet his new girlfriend, Calla. “German food”, I thought, “in the summer? And not even on the heavenly Black Forest Inn patio?” But I think it was a success despite the unseasonable fried, gravy-laden food.

As Ryan mentioned, we and my sister split the “Gourmet” platter of chicken, beef, veal and pork, along with cabbage, potato croquettes and spaetzle. It was delicious. And heavy. And filling.

But the evening was a rousing success. I think that Matt and Calla, being first-timers to Gasthof, were in for a surprise as far as the atmosphere is concerned. The dozens of “ziggai-zaggai-ziggai-zaggai-hoi-hoi-hoi!” cheers would put off a squeamish newbie, as well as the shots of Apflekorn that were included in our meal!

I was a newbie at something, though, and that was “das boot”! I had heard a thing or two about the deposit-requiring 2L glass vessel, but had never experienced it myself. I suppose I can check that off me “Things to Do Before I Turn 30” list!

All in all, Gasthof’s is an expensive evening but very fun. I would recommend it more in the fall or winter, when one’s body craves carbs and gravy-laden fried meat. Whatever season you go in, though, you’re guaranteed a fun evening.