Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WunderBar: An LIC Wunderkind

On the long walk to WunderBar I noticed halal meat shops, pizza places, gyro stands, Greek restaurants, Italian restaurants, Spanish restaurants, French restaurants, Mexican restaurants, Colombian restaurants, and more! But no German restaurants, or bars for that matter.

I'd been meaning to go to WunderBar since I heard about it a while ago from a friend and on Monday I finally made the trek down to 37th Ave and 11th St. I didn't expect the front of it to be painted bright blue but the color as well as the German flag flying high above it definitely caught my eye.

When I walked in owner and chef Felix was doing some phone business as he tends to do on Mondays but he pointed me to a seat at the bar and a menu. First of all, this is just a cool place to be in. The skylight in the middle of the room lets in a lot of sun, there's German and pirate decorations everywhere and the dining room floor can and will be easily converted into a concert venue come OKTOBERFEST! I talked with Felix a little while and he served me some delicious, authentic and very filling German food (not to mention beers!) and I acted like a glutton in the name of WLA.

I started with a Radeberger Pilsner and this tangy plate of vegetable "salats." The cucumber salat is as good as the green bean salat and the pickle is enjoyable as well but the star for me here was the tomato salat. It was incredibly flavorful with lots of garlic. The tomatoes weren't mushy and I couldn't stop eating it. Too bad there was only about three bites.

I was still hungry so I ate a Spicy Kaesewurst. The sauerkraut and rotkraut (red cabbage) are imported from Germany and the two mustards are homemade. Their creamy tanginess slathered all over that extra snappy skinned spicy wiener exploded with flavor and texture. This is a very well made sausage.

When I asked about schnitzel Felix asked, "You like gravy?" What kind of question is that?Who doesn't?! The veal Jager Schnitzel swimming in a gravy made from smoked bacon, mushrooms, and Black Forest ham was the best thing I tasted. Every bite was better than the last savoring it like it was my last meal. This is Felix's favorite dish to cook and serve. If the chef refers to a dish as "my baby" then you order it without question.

His kartoffelsalat (potato salad) is ridiculously creamy and moist and without being overly mayonnaise-y. Felix says it comes from the addition of milk. I say gimme more.
This is the third beir I drank, Hofbrauhaus dunkel. Felix has a background in tending bar and you can tell from the way he pours a beer from his beautiful tap system. This is the second of three different Hofbrauhaus beirs I drank. All deliciously malty like great German beirs.

The Hofbrauhaus Oktoberfest was my favorite and I'll definitely be ordering a liter of it next time I go into WunderBar. There were also Das Boots available to drink out of for a deposit or for purchase. Happy Birthday to me!

The last few morsels I could squeeze down were some potato pancakes with traditional toppings of sour cream and applesauce. These brown and crusty cakes beat a short stack any day.

Lots of space for RAMMSTEIN concert!

I almost put my face in this....almost.

Beir Shrine

German pirate bar

I had an terrific experience at WunderBar and will find myself back there very soon and definitely for Oktoberfest this year. In a neighborhood of ethnic restaurants, WunderBar sticks out not just for being German, but for being really good. The owner is gracious and loves his job and it shows in the food and the fun had in his bright blue German bar in LIC. As a matter of fact, the food and atmosphere here are so cool, it could be in Astoria.

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