Heidelberg Restaurant

Restaurants, Austrian Upper East Side
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Heidelberg Restaurant

For more than 50 years, this lodgelike Germantown holdover has clung to its roots—dirndled waitresses, men in lederhosen and bubbling steins of Spaten. Sausages, all supplied by neighboring butcher Schaller & Weber, are the way to go: Platters arrive weighted down with tasty links of pork-and-beef bauernwurst, veal weisswurst and pork bratwurst. Though most entrées come with spaetzle, sauerkraut or potato salad, brave diners can opt for “Old World favorites” like boiled pig knuckles.


Venue name: Heidelberg Restaurant
Address: 1648 Second Ave
New York
Cross street: between 85th and 86th Sts
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am–10:30pm
Transport: Subway: 4, 5, 6 to 86th St
Price: Average main course: $17. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Walking by you might miss it. But that wouldn't exactly be a bad thing. 

The Germans are renowned for a lot of things- light beers...um...not-as-light beers...um...that car your douchey uncle drives? One thing we can all agree they don't do well at, is food. Sure, a good wurst is a decent option to munch on while your other hand is occupied holding an oversized beer stein, but rarely is anyone actually craving it to the point of it being destination-worthy. Having been to Germany, the food is simply something you "put up with", But in a city where the culinary options are basically endless, why would you ever waste your time eating German fare?

But I'm not using this as a platform to criticize German food in general, because sometimes it really ain't half bad. No, I'm here to acutely criticize the food at Heidelberg. On the night I went. our table sampled options from every corner of the menu. Some roasts, some stews, and a whole lot of weiners. Every single item was overcooked, over salted, and over fried. The duck felt like biting into a tire (Bridgestone, not even that soft silky Goodyear stuff), the pork shank was seemingly left sitting in a tub of batter for 7 weeks before heading to the deep fryer, and the Kase-Spatzle (basically German mac and cheese) was fine, but not even in the ballpark of what you can find elsewhere in this town. 

In short, if you must choose German (why the hell would that ever even be a scenario?), just head to Hofbrau or Zum Schneider instead. Unless you're already up by Heidelberg (again, why?), in which case I'd gladly opt for Halal cart.