Old Heidelberg- Restaurant Review

This isn’t so much a restaurant review as much as it is a gushing love letter. My mother had hit for a few hundred dollars at the casino so she rather graciously gave Shu & I some cash so we could have a date night without the kids; since that hasn’t happened since early August we graciously obliged (thank you mom). We racked our brains (and by we I mean Shu) and decided to finally try this little place we’ve been passing by for years but had never gone to, this place being Old Heidelberg.

It’s a little stand alone building bookended by a German deli of the same name that makes all of their sausage and other goodies, located off State Road 84 in Fort Lauderdale. When we walked in we realized that the place was hardcore. The interior decor looked like the house in Snow White & the 7 Dwarves (in fact on the way out I saw a rather cute antique statue of such), the waitresses were dressed in traditional Bavarian manner & the waiters wore tuxedos, the entire staff seemed to be German (or at least forced to use a thick fake accent but that would be weird so I’m pretty sure it’s the real deal), and there was an old guy on a tiny stage playing accordion & singing. “OK,” I thought, “this is going to be very good…”

The service was professional, competent, prompt and incredibly polite; the bartender being particularly delightful (I regret not getting her name, very nice lady) and we had our menus before the wood of the booth we were sitting in had finished groaning from accepting my considerable girth. Upon viewing the menu we were beset by option anxiety, everything looked fantastic and to decide amongst that panorama of Deuischland delights was daunting. After much deliberation we had decided upon splitting the Sausages sampler platter as our appetizer, I ordered the Spanferkel, which is a roast portion of suckling pig & Shu chose the Bavarian Roast Duck; for dessert we chose the Rote Gruetze, which is a delightful parfait like assemblage of marinated strawberries & cherries in a vanilla sauce.

The height of good cooking is the elevation of a simple thing, that was proven when we received our appetizer. The sausage sampler came with sides of German potato salad & sauerkraut; now the sausage were delicious, I expected that, but what blew me away was the potato salad & the sauerkraut. My first taste of Old Heidelberg was a casual forkful of the German potato salad and it blew me away. It was simple, likely cooked in stock with a hint of vinegar; miles away from the heavy handed celebration of mayonnaise that passes for potato salad for most of America, a delicious item I intend to try to replicate at home. As you might guess the sauerkraut also was similarly stunning, again cooked with some assemblage of stock & obviously made from scratch. Our next course was a cup of potato soup (we had the choice of salad or soup with our meal) which was pleasant, subtle and used bacon with both taste & restraint.

When the main courses arrived we were very optimistic & that optimism was not unrewarded. My Spanferkel, came with red cabbage (which I love in general) an absolutely perfect, let me repeat that, an ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, potato dumpling and mashed potatoes. It was just so damn good, the pork was fork tender, perfectly seasoned unctuous & wonderful. Shu’s Bavarian roast duck was cooked to similar superlatives, the skin was crispy and the whole of the flesh was permeated with the sweetness of raisin & redolent with cinnamon, the stuffing for the duck was like the best coffee cake ever & I mean that in the best way possible; the sides were the same except that she received sauerkraut instead of red cabbage. The Roe Gruetze was the perfect dessert, not that I don’t desperately want to run rampant through the rest of their dessert options, it was palate refreshing yet still rich, the flavor of the cherry & strawberry offset perfectly by the luxurious vanilla sauce, the perfect end to that meal. After dinner we retired to their bar to digest and enjoy a nice cup of coffee and the pleasant banter of the aforementioned bartender.

If any of my readers live in South Florida do yourself a favor and go to this place, it’s simply wonderful. One of the things that made it such a refreshing & enjoyable experience is that it was so different. You simply don’t find German food in South Florida, don’t get me wrong you can find fantastic food all over the area, and most of it is really great Hispanic or Caribbean, which I enjoy with great relish; but despite the absolutely sublime production of our dinner at Old Heidelberg, it was also the refreshing change of pace and scenery that made it all the better. Visit this place it is definitely worth it, a dinner for 2 will cost at least 50 bucks before drinks & tip (and if you tip these people under 20 percent you are a horrible person because they are really good at what they do) but it’s an experience you will remember. It was the first time I have gone there I intend to return soon, dragging friends in tow.

Here is their info if you want to learn more:

Restaurant, 900 State Road 84 Ft. Lauderdale FL 33315 954-463-6747 bavarianforest@cs.com

Deli, 914 State Road 84 Ft. Lauderdale FL 33315 954-463-3880 www.oldheidelbergdeli.com

 

The restaurant hours are Tuesday to Friday 12 noon to around 10pm, Happy Hour 4-7pm

Saturday & Sunday they open at 4pm closed on Mondays.

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