Heidelberg Restaurant, Upper East Side/Yorkville


me at HeidelbergHeidelberg RestaurantWerner the german musicianSchnitzel alla Holstein

Yorkville was at one time, the little germantown of Manhattan (i’ll be posting a history of yorkville post later). It’s germanness has faded in the past decades, but two strongholds remain. Schaler & Weber, the german butcher shop/grocery, that I will be sure to write up at a later date. The other, only two doors down from the wursthaus, is Heidelberg Restaurant, a main stay of the neighborhood since 1936. What better place to start my NY Bier Hall Crawl, than this legend.

I really have to say the fates where with me on my recent visit to Heidelberg Restaurant. First thing I notice when I arrive is a note tacked to the door that says there will be live music tonight provided by Werner (a round warm faced elderly man wearing a bavarian cap in his photo). Well if that wasn’t enough to make my evening, seeing the specials menu delivered by our lederhosen clad waiter, showed I was off to an ideal night.

Their special entree of the night was Königsberger Klopse, one of my all time favorite dishes. It’s veal, pork and beef meatballs cooked in a lemon caper sauce that was a speciality of the former east Prussian capital of Köningsberg (where my great grandfather and the stermer last name came from). I’ll post a recipe for the dish soon, I made it for the first time myself two Christmases ago for my family.
Königsberger Klopse

On top of that, their special desert for the day (even though for some reason it was also on their normal menu) was Rote Gruetze. Rote Gruetze is a dish I had read about and tired to make myself. I wasn’t sure how it was supposed to taste, so I was a bad judge on whether I made a good batch or not. As far as I know, it means “Red Grits” in German. It’s a northern german and danish dish, where it’s called Rødgrød and is almost on a national dish status to the Danes. Top it off with a thick vanilla sauce and it was really pretty amazing. I realized the batch I made this summer, for which I used currants, really wasn’t very good. One of the great things about this, is it’s not overly sweet. Inface I think if you don’t use the vanilla sauce, it would we a great weekend breakfast item.
Rote Grütze with vanilla sauce

Basically right off the bat I knew what I was gonna order. The liver dumpling soup to start, the Königsberger Klopse and the Rote Grütze to finish. Oh but wait, what am I to wash this down with? Well even low and behold, what do they have on tap, but Hofbraü Dunkel. So I order a liter, and can’t wait for it to arrive…