2012-05-09 / Restaurant of the Week

MAX BRATWURST UND BIER

Ever since King Ludwig I of Germany ordered that beer only be brewed during the winter months to preserve its purity, the ritual of Oktoberfest was born. Since then, people around the world have enjoyed traditional German brews and the wursts that go with them. The Gazette welcomes the newest venue in this arena, called “Max Bratwurst und Bier” and you can learn more about this tradition on the front of their cleverly designed menu.

Friends Fjori, Renny and Thomas have 16 years’ experience in the German restaurant business and we all benefit from their expertise at Max Bratwurst und Bier. This small, friendly corner spot welcomes families and friends from 11am until midnight during the week and until 2am on weekends. I saw two tables full of families with children at the dinner hour enjoying juicy beef smoked bratwurst, chicken schnitzel and sides in this casual restaurant with wood floors and lovely French doors that will soon open to sidewalk seating. As the night went on, the local singles and couples joined in the festive atmosphere and the low prices make family dining or friendly dining a no-brainer.

At the open kitchen, you’ll find chefs Frank Stenzel and Nadine Quendler searing up dozens of delicious wursts, schnitzel, burgers and more. The service bar offers pints and liters of imported brews all made under the strict Beer Purity Law of 1516. Some tap beers on hand include HB Dunkel, Radeberger Pilsener, Gaffel Koelsch and Schneider Weisse. There are even more beers by the bottle and a fully stocked bar for those preferring a cocktail or glass of wine instead of beer.

We started with an impressive array of house made salads, all made fresh each day. Crunchy cucumber salad sat next to two kinds of potato salad: the Berliner made with a touch of mayo, and the Munich style potato salad made with vinegar ($4.50). Next a wurstsalat is prepared with thin slices of wurst marinated in oil and vinegar with onions and pickles. You can also start with a bowl of creamy potato soup or tomato soup. Platters of cold cuts with German bread, a cheese platter with farmer’s bread or German style chicken wings are all generously sized and great for sharing.

The handmade wursts at Max come in three delicious categories, according to the fineness of the grind of meats and cost about $6. The Max Line is the finest ground and the half pound beef knockwurst or pork bratwurst are just great, neither fatty nor salty, so you can really taste the quality of the meat. There are chicken bratwursts for a lighter flavor and a traditional veal bratwurst and they are all compleimented by an array of coarsely ground mustards in mild, hot, and sweet varieties. The Gourmet line is courser ground and comes in tantalizing flavors such as jalapeƱo, beer and cheese, which is fantastic, and the original pork bratwurst. Finally, the Exotic line uses game meats such as rabbit, alligator and rattlesnake meat for the daring diner. There are also Italian sausages, Andouille brats and bleu cheese brats, so you can try a different one each time you visit.

Schnitzel is made with a pork or chicken cutlet that has been pounded thin, breaded and quickly fried to golden perfection. Max’s schnitzel is served with two sides of your choice including French fries or their amazing bratkartoffel, a type of home fried potatoes with bits of bacon and onion. Homemade red cabbage or sauerkraut are the real deal and the flavors here reflect modern German food; light, fresh and tasty.

Indulge in a giant 10-ounce German burger made with a combination of pork and beef for extra flavor, served on a pretzel bun with traditional garnish ($6.50). Order it straight up or topped with Swiss cheese and curry ketchup, caramelized onions or bacon and gorgonzola for an over-the-top treat. A meat loaf sandwich, or German ham and bologna sandwich make a hearty lunch with a pint of brew.

Save some room for dessert and perhaps some digestive schnapps. The apple strudel is authentic with its light pastry crust and juicy apples inside. Order it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for extra flavor and texture or try traditional Emperor’s cake made with rum and raisins.

Max Bratwurst und Bier has a private party room for up to 30 people for your next birthday, bachelor party or business event. The service here is very friendly and accommodating. You can also watch your favorite sports games on the screen and dine at long, communal tables with your friends. Check out their Web site for more photos, menu and information. Willkommen to Max Bratwurst und Bier for good food, good beer, and good friends. Danke Schoen!

47-02 30th Avenue, Astoria
718.777.1635

www.maxbratwurst.com

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