Thursday, July 21, 2011

Befestigung auf dem Futtersack

This is the feedbag (futtersack)
Ever wonder why German food isn't more popular and sought-after here in the U.S.?  I do.  It's got so many elements that Americans love:  meat, potatoes, bread, gravy and beer.  Ever since Klaus' place in Irmo burned down years ago, the only other German place in Columbia has been Julia's. Don't misunderstand; I love Julia's (click here).  But, if you live in Irmo, Lexington or Blythewood, journeying over to Jackson Blvd is a bit of a hike.

Recently, Huller's Black Forest entered the scene. It's located on Columbiana Drive in the Harbison area.  The exterior has been upfitted with classic German details.  Inside is decorated with various German flags, cuckoo clocks and dark wood.  I went today for lunch with my mom.  They offer a pretty hefty buffet or you may order from the menu.  We chose the buffet so we could sample several of their dishes.  Here's how it went:

Between our two plates, we sampled most things.  First, their Jager Schnitzel was quite good.  The pork cutlet was fork tender and the gravy was thick and tasty, although I added a bit of salt to mine.  Julia uses more mushrooms than Huller's but as a non-mushroom eater, that is just fine with me.  Their red cabbage is homemade, I suspect, because the cabbage slices were uneven, as if cut by hand.  Very characteristic red cabbage flavor and very tender.  The pork loin was served with a lighter gravy and was very flavorful, but not quite as tender as the schnitzel.  We tried the semmelknoedel, which was labeled as 'traditional German bread dumpling.'  I've never seen this dish before, so of course was curious.  It's a ball-shaped dumpling and reminds me of a potato cake.  I really like the way Huller's makes their spaetzle...they are long, shoe-string shaped and you can see that they are pan fried.  I do think they'd be better cooked to order rather than on the buffet.  I was also intrigued by the soup du jour...cream of vegetable.  If you remember, I love European style (Portuguese anyway) vegetable soups.  This reminded me of what I love about those soups.  A pureed base and this one contained nice, soft carrots as well.  Very nice.  Now, the salad bar leaves a lot to be desired. Iceberg lettuce, the itty bitty croutons from the 70's and pretty typical dressings.  They also had a pasta salad (I'm not a pasta salad lover so I skipped  this).  Mom tried the potato salad, but prefers a hot German potato salad instead.  The pickled beets were awesome, but I realize you have to be a beet lover to appreciate.  The one thing that virtually every German menu (or buffet) lacks is GREEN.  This is true in Germany too.  Some simple steamed green beans or brussels sprouts would complement this food fantastically.  I'm just sayin'...

Lastly, a dessert was included with the buffet. Our choices were rice pudding, chocolate or vanilla ice cream.  Mom chose chocolate I.C. while I opted for the rice pudding.  The rice pudding was pretty traditional and extemely satisfying...served cold with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.   

Huller's also advertises some pretty awesome beer promotions such as two for one deals for tasting new beers and today I saw a sign for "bring your own stein" night.  I think getting a group together for an evening of good beer (the Germans do make the best beer in the world, after all!) and good grub would be lots of fun.  

Like most new restaurants, they have some minor kinks to iron out, in my humble opinion.  For instance, for a while there, our server seemed to have been swallowed up by a black hole.  I was happy to find that she was safe when she materalized again.  Some changes to the salad bar would be welcome, as I indicated above.  But, overall, I'm happy to report that our town has another good quality German venue.  I hope to get to know the owner to see if I can talk him/her into adding a fave of mine that I've never seen outside of Freiburg, Germany...Curry Wurst.  OMG! I don't care if you think you don't like curry, you'd love this.  Sliced bratwurst smothered in a curried ketchup-type sauce.  Oh, sweet flashbacks!  But that's another story...

Huller's Black Forest German American Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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  1. Just a quick little note to ya...Huller's Black Forest has moved to St Andrew Rd and their location is to say the least, AWESOME!

    1. Thanks for your comment! I haven't made it to the new location yet. Well, I tried....went for lunch, but they weren't serving lunch that day. I am looking forward to getting over there. Need a schnitzel fix soon!



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