There aren’t many German restaurants left in New Jersey – EthnicNJ has found five so far, two of them beer gardens of recent vintage where the emphasis is clearly on the beverages. If you’re looking for hearty German schwäbischer rostbraten, spätzle and sauerkraut to wash down with a tall hefeweizen, head northwest to Sussex County’s Black Forest Inn, a full service restaurant and pub where the German food is the main reason to visit.
The Black Forest Inn screams Old World from the moment you arrive. The sprawling restaurant features elaborate brick and wood-trimmed dining rooms, Central European pastoral scenes in stained-glass, and female servers bursting out of traditional fräulein uniforms.
Bring an appetite to savor the large, filling plates of German and European specialties. To start, try the potato pancakes served with applesauce and sour cream, the hearty Maultaschen – spinach and meat-filled ravioli with fried onions in a veal reduction, or maybe a traditional Bavarian pretzel with mustard and butter. After whetting the appetite, move on to a main course. Choose among seven varieties of schnitzel (veal and pork), a very good marinated beef sauerbraten, or homemade bratwurst. Save room for the two sides that accompany each plate – the red cabbage, spätzle, and sauerkraut are delicious. My wife and I are still talking about the huge potato dumpling bathed in butter. Most entrees are available in half portions, plenty of food by themselves. Let’s just say that German food does not make for a light meal. The beer selection at The Black Forest is good, but not as wide-ranging as what’s on tap at Zeppelin Hall.
The Black Forest Inn is in Stanhope, NJ, just north of Route 80 on Route 206 North (keep an eye out for the restaurant entrance on the right – it comes up quickly). Oktoberfest runs from September 15th through the end of October, with a special menu and live music on weekends – a perfect opportunity to try some of New Jersey’s best German food.