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December 19, 2007 / Tony

Dinner at the Black Forest Inn

It’s no secret that I like German food.  It’s hearty, it’s comforting, and it is undeniably meaty.  What’s not to like?  It’s like comfort food on crack.  So I never shy away from eating at a German restaurant.  Where else are you going to get schnitzels, spaetzle, and potato pancakes? 

The danger with German food, of course, is that when made poorly, the food is rather unrefined and just plain heavy.  It’s like French Fries.  Made properly, they are light and crisp and not the least bit greasy.  Made poorly, and they are limp and greasy bits of potato that have no character.  That latter description is how I feel about the Black Forest Inn.  The food was just sort of bad.  I ordered a special for the holidays: a sausage plate with a bratwurst, a “Christmas” sausage, and a chicken curry sausage.  It came with your choice of side (I chose a potato pancake) and rye bread.  For dessert, I had an apfelstrudel.  I’ll address each of those items in turn.

But before I get to my entree, let me explain the bread service at the Black Forest Inn.  Prior to the entrees, the table is (free of charge) given a basket of bread-rye and some small white bread rolls.  The bread was fine but nothing to write home about.  But what frosted me was the fact that I got rye bread for free while I was paying for it as part of my entree!  I think it very bad form to offer something for free but keep it part of something you have to pay for.  It’s either free or it isn’t.  Restaurants shouldn’t blur the issue. 

My entree itself was passable.  The sausages were fine but not memorable.  Apparently, there is a sausage master who makes the sausages in house.  Maybe I just don’t know enough about sausages but they seemed so ordinary.  I just expect more from a master German sausage maker.  Plus, the menu said to ask for a side of mustard, so I did.  The server proceeds to bring out two mustards: a house mustard (which was a pleasant sweet/hot combination) and Grey Poupon.  Why would a German restaurant serve a French mustard?  It just doesn’t make sense.  Perhaps if it was requested, it could even be present on the table but to bring it out as a matter of course is simply silly.  Quite disappointing, really.  The potato pancake was just plain weird.  It was obviously deep-fried instead of sauteed or pan fried.  And the inside was so dense that it was more like a potato cake than a pancake.  It wasn’t bad but it was just strange. 

And the apfelstrudel was just the same.  The flavors were fine but the puff pastry was just awful.  There wasn’t a hint of crispness or flakiness to it.  It was just heavy and doughy, especially in the middle of it. 

I’ll just say dinner was fine but considering the price, I can’t really say it was worth the money.  Here’s some pictures:

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2 Comments

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  1. martha / Dec 20 2007 8:42 pm

    Ok, this just makes me crazy! that is the worst presentation of food I have ever seen. It is basically the sum of its parts. And what self-respecting restaurant would serve condiments in plastic disposable cups?! I own a restaurant and would NEVER send food out on a plate looking like that. In fact my restaurant is called The Black Forest Cafe and I found this entry because I have a google alert on “Black Forest”. But I was so shocked by the photo that I had to comment.
    Lots of successful restaurants serve mediocre food (not mine however) but are successful because of presentation and ambience. They should be ashamed.

  2. Tony / Dec 21 2007 8:13 am

    Martha, thank you for the comment. I agree that plastic ramekins are a definite no-no for any restaurant who aims (or claims) to serve quality food. I also agree that presentation goes a long way in determining how a patron enjoys food. I think the saying is that they eat with their eyes first.

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