>> Gottscheer Hall Tap Room | Eat the World NYC

03 November 2011

Gottscheer Hall Tap Room


The tap room at Gottscheer Hall is the type of place that probably has looked the same for at least a decade. The same five to ten men are there every night, ordering the same beers, telling the same jokes, and popping quarters in the jukebox to play the same 80's rock favorites.

The night me and a friend decided to go was just before Halloween, and the main ballroom (if you can call it that) was filled with a party for children all dressed up in their cute costumes. Although not much dancing was taking place, I could hear the chicken dance and electric slide coming from the hall.

That finally cleared out on this Friday night around 9:30pm, but the tap room stays open until at least midnight on weekends, depending on the crowd. They serve dinner from Wednesday through Sunday, and it is worth coming here for the experience of the whole place, even if the German food will not completely knock your socks off.

Although he became annoying to the point of anger, our neighbor at the bar began a conversation with us before we had even sat down. It is just that type of place, where even two young kids living far away from Ridgewood can come in and feel very welcome immediately.

They carry a couple bad US beers and a few good German beers, usually poured in the correct glassware in metric sizes. You will notice small signs on the tables advertising a $1 beer in the 0.3L size with any food purchase. Make sure to take advantage of this at some point during the evening.

On the specials the night we went was the sauerbraten dinner ($12.50, below), a big plate that comes with potatoes and red cabbage. The potatoes will be enjoyed, especially with the tangy gravy poured over the meat. The red cabbage is so-so, while the meat itself is on the dry side. It's fine with that sauce, but I found that a bite should probably include the potato as well.

Did someone say three-cheese spaetzle ($8, below)? When the bartender did in fact say these words, we jumped at the chance to eat it. Unfortunately it did not live up to expectations, as the noodles were soft and dead and the whole thing just tasted too similar to macaroni and cheese. That being said, it was not terrible, it just was not like spaetzle.

Between courses we enjoyed another round or two of $5 beers in half-liter mugs, an absolute steal even for Ridgewood. Eventually the promise of apple strudle ($3, below) came, but even this disappointed. Besides coming about 30 minutes later, it was just a microwaved dish. Unfortunately the black forest cake ($3) that was on the menu was not available.

Despite the fact that I have not said so many nice things about the food, I would come back here in a heartbeat. The place has charm, and the experience of it is definitely worth any distance and time you have to take to get here. The service is friendly and you are treated like family on your first visit. They have a bunch of memorabilia on the walls that is worth a look, and a big map of the Gottschee region, where the first immigrants who started this place were from. That region is now in current day Slovenia, and this place has no German accents, but it is all still very pure somehow.

The street outside was even named for them!

657 Fairview Avenue

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