Monday, June 24, 2013
Prost all the way at Zum Stammtisch
It's no secret that I adore my Eastern European cuisine, which brings back delicious memories of the way I grew up in Slovakia. Like many European nations, Slovakia's cuisine is no doubt influenced by other neighboring regions such as Hungary, Austria, and Germany. Which brings me to my excitement of trying Zum Stammtisch, a trusty German comfort food staple in the residential neighborhood of Glendale, Queens.
I'm not going to lie by saying that Zum is a breeze to get to - it's a bit of a hike on the subway and more accessible by car, but once you get there, it's totally worth it. You walk through those wooden doors and what lies in front of you is a little slice of Bavaria.
A cozy dining room with cushy booth seating, dark wooden tables and warm tavern-style lighting makes you feel as if you're in a classic pub in Munich. I love the tall, thick steins that adorn each table as well as some of the shelves on the wall, making me think of my time in Germany during Oktoberfest. The waitstaff even gets in the spirit, clad in traditional German garb such as dirndl, worn by the waitresses. Dan and I noticed a lot of big groups, some families, some friends, and thought it was a good sign, especially for a Monday evening.
Since the food here is so hearty, we aimed to share most things, but ended up with a few individual dishes too. Needless to say, we were pretty full, as we took advantage of Monday's Schnitzelfest special.
Goulash Soup - I love me some nice hearty soup and since it was a chilly, rainy night outside, it was the perfect thing to warm up with. Dan and I each got a cup of it, and loved the rich beefy broth, laced with tomato, pepper, paprika and other fragrant spices. The chunks of meat inside were delicious too and didn't go unnoticed.
Bratwurst - We couldn't refuse a classic German pork sausage and loved Zum's version, which was cut up into little bite-sized pieces and served on sweet white cabbage. The latter was supposed to be like a sauerkraut, but it was also prepared with a sweet finish that was delicious. Enjoying this dish immensely, it was a perfect way to start a German feast.
Schnitzel - Dan and I ordered two different schnitzels, and the task wasn't easy, as there was a lot to choose from. After some deliberation, I selected the Jagerschnitzel with a mushroom sauce, and Dan went for the Weinerschnitzel a la Holstein. The latter looked absolutely gorgeous with a fried egg on top. I got a bite of it too and enjoyed the juxtaposition of the crunchy exterior of the meat with the soft and slightly runny egg.
My Jagerschnitzel was awesome too - laced with a pungent mushroom sauce that reminded me of a winter stew. I loved that it wasn't on the creamy side and that's why I had an easy time finishing nearly the whole thing.
Sides - Not that we needed any, but the gracious staff at Zum hooked us up with a side of sweet red cabbage as well as a homefries dish that put us over the edge. The potatoes were a big hit, boasting some well done, crispy edges that were wildly addicting, as well as pieces of crunchy, well-done sausage that were also irresistible.
Dessert - I'm not exactly sure how we mustered up enough energy for dessert, but we had to give it a try. A cup of homemade rice pudding came with our schnitzel special, but we decided to share it instead of getting our own. I was surprised by how light and fluffy the rice was, laced with flavors of warm cinnamon that left a delicious taste in your mouth. The meringue topping was also a pretty sight and a delicious bite to boot!
Beer - As any good German establishment, there wasn't a shortage of beer, and Zum has a healthy sampling of barrel, wheat, imported, domestic and even non-alcoholic beers. Dan and I chose a few selections from their barrel, including the Hofbrauhaus light and dark beer and the Warsteiner Pilsner. All of these were hearty, refreshing and very flavorful, reminding us of the good quality beer we're used to drinking in Europe. Needless to say, they taste even better in Zum's signature steins.
Service and Cost:
Impressed by the hospitality here, we were particularly well taken care of by our waitress, Nerina. Not only did she anticipate all our needs perfectly, she provided us with an authentic experience by giving her perspective on her favorite dishes and even insights into preparation.
Costs are very affordable, especially during Monday's and Tuesday's Schnitzelfest, during which you can get an appetizer, a schnitzel and a dessert for $19.95/person. If you're ordering off the everyday menu, you can also expect to see wallet friendly prices:
Appetizers - $5.95 - $10.95
Entrees - $15.95 - $23.95
Dessert - $5.95 - $8.95
Zum Stammtisch - 69-46 Myrtle Avenue, Glendale NY 11385
M Train to Fresh Pond Road