By Marianne Belmonte
I recently had the pleasure of experiencing German Cuisine in a delightful establishment called Landbrot. It was such a pleasant surprise to taste authentic German dishes right here in my own backyard. I was in Germany and Austria in December of last year for the Christmas Markets and it was there that I discovered my other roots and their rich cultural traditions; food being one of them. This came as a great surprise to me having grown up in an Italian household and rarely having German food. (If you are even just a little bit Italian you will understand that they don't believe any other cuisine exists, that is, for the occasional Chinese fare.) The only German food I had ever had was when 86th Street was considered Germantown and my mother felt obliged to take us there or on the few occasions that we visited the Amish Country in Pennsylvania. Having said all that you are in for a real treat if you take my suggestion and go to Landbrot in the West Village or their other location on the Lower East Side.
Considered to be a bakery bar, the menu is actually quite large with freshly baked breads and pastries and pretzels the size and varieties you have never imagined. Their name Landbrot translates to country bread and let me tell you it truly is the real deal. I had spatzle and brats and it rivaled any I had had in Germany. The spatzle was creamy and delicate and the brats were spicy and flavorful. I had to try one of their pretzels as well and of course had a German micro-brew to accompany my meal. The dessert was top shelve and I highly recommend you treat yourself and try their warm apple strudel or their German chocolate or cheese cakes. Whatever you choose you won't regret it; it will have been well worth the calories.
Of course what would a German Bar be without a great selection of beers and wines. The beer is some of the best I have ever had and the wine list is very impressive with wines from Germany, Austria, Italy, France and Spain. Having tried the micro-brew and being very satisfied with the quality I had to indulge myself to some Riesling to accompany my dessert. It was outstanding and brought me back to my trip to Germany when we sailed down the Danube River through the wine country. Oh...to be back there.
Back to New York City and Landbrot. The West Village location is a true mix of bar and bakery, very reminiscent of what one would find in Europe with indoor and outdoor seating. The Lower East Side is more bar than bakery and their hours reflect that staying open until 2am from Thursday to Saturday.
If you are craving something different and are bored with the usual fare and enjoy a great glass of beer or wine you must give Landbrot a try. Both locations are opened for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also have an outstanding variety of coffees and teas to go with any meal. Although this establishment only opened in 2011 it is definitely one that will pass the test of time and become one of NYC's must picks for authentic, delicious meals one can have in this great city of ours. Please go as soon as you can.
137 7th Av south
or 185 Orchard St.