Growing up there was a German restaurant in Salem, NH called the Green Barn. My parents never had any inclination to dine on German fare, and the closest I ever got to eating there was a high school German Club dinner I did not attend. The Green Barn existed on a list of places I knew about but never cared to try and after 42 years the restaurant closed. A strip mall was planned for the site of the 19th century barn but the Green Barn owner indicated he may relocate to another part of town.
The point of that vingette is that in my 35 plus years of existence I have never tried German food. Following the closing of Nino’s on the parkway Tallahassee was devoid of German restaurants and those with a hankering for schnitzel were on their own. I was recently in Jacksonville and my friend Joe, whose family is German, asked if I knew of any places in the River City that served the cuisine of the Vaterland. Some quick research revealed a listing for the German Schnitzel Haus and we decided to pay them a visit for dinner.
The German Schnitzel Haus is located at 13245 Atlantic Boulevard. In the parking lot the first thing I noticed was the restaurant had an identity crisis. In addition to serving German specialties also advertised itself as a brick oven pizzeria. If I wrote this was the first time I saw this strange pairing I would be lying as Nino’s in Tallahassee was an Italian/German combination restaurant. We were the only patrons in the restaurant and seated ourselves at a long wooden table. Fake brick lined the wall and German beer pennants hung from one corner to the other. At the back a bar surrounded by high tools displayed large glasses suitable for holding up to a liter of beer.
A waitress approached the table smiling. This was a sign of things to come as service throughout our meal was outstanding. She took our drink orders and handed up two menus. Skipping the pizza we focused on the German dishes. Appetizers, soups, salads, and authentic German dishes (Deutsche Hauptspeisen) are offered. Clueless I deferred to my dining partner Joe who suggested potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce, and Jagerschnitzel with Spätzle as an entree. The potato pancakes arrived on a white and blue ceramic plate with a side of sour cream and apple sauce. We requested and were given additional condiments. The potato pancakes were golden brown, crispy on the outside, and moist on the inside. I never thought apple sauce would taste good on potatoes, but it was delicious and I actually preferred it to the sour cream. Joe also gave the pancakes his seal of approval and said they were very good.
Next up was the Jagerschnitzel. It was billed as two breaded pork cutlets sauteed to a golden brown and topped with a creamy mushroom gravy. A second blue and white ceramic plate arrived topped with golden brown pork cutlets, mushroom gravy, and a pile of Spätzle. The schnitzel was coated with a thin breading and juicy. It was well seasoned and paired really well with the flavorful brown gravy. It was the German version of a fried pork chop and was delicious. Spätzle is a German egg noodle and it was very good when sopping up the remaining brown gravy. Standing alone it was a tad bland, and could have used a bit more salt.
We were both stuffed by the end of the meal but managed to find a little extra room for dessert. I ordered the Apfelstrudel and Joe went for a slice of Bienenstich. The Apfelstrudel consisted of thin layers of pastry full of apples and sliced almonds. The pastry was dusted with powdered sugar and served with two scoops of ice cream . It was sweet without being overly sweet. The Bienenstich was a cake full of custard. I had a bite and momentarly wished I had ordered a slice because it was delicious.
The German Schnitzel Haus is open Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. -9.00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. The restaurant is online at germanschnitzlehaus.com and can be contacted by telephone at (904) 221-9700.
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