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Old 01-08-2013, 11:17 AM
 
289 posts, read 1,317,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
The problem with German food is it is so limited. The better dishes are not something you want as a steady diet. Same is true of the umpteen sausages. So restaurants specializing in it must have a wide drawing locale. This is not so easy.
You've nailed it, I think. Immigration from that part of Europe has been insignificant for many years. In retrospect, I'm thankful to have grown up in an era when Cincinnati offered such a choice of good German/Austrian places. Of the two Lenhardt's restaurants, we frequented the store owned by brother Kristof [sic] on Reading and Summit, but did occasionally visit the Clifton location.

Rumor had it that the Lenhardt brothers did not get on well and that the two restaurants, despite having similar menus, were in competition.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayton Sux View Post
Mecklenburg Gardens is overrated. I was there once for their food (not atomsphere or beer, and I agree it has good atmosphere, or potentially good atmosphere)....and was disappointed...sort of sad, actually, given the places' history.
Had dinner there two weeks ago and it was excellent. The one thing I will say about Mecklenburg is that it can be inconsistent. The recipes and quality can change slightly as the chefs change, and frankly, some are better than others. Tom, one of the owners, tends to give his chefs a little license, perhaps to their detriment sometimes. For example, the potato pancakes seem to change every couple of years. Six months ago I thought they were really marginal...our most recent visit, totally different and very good. Over the years, even their signature dessert, triple chocolate Mecklenburg Pie, varies from time to time...always good, but sometimes different, and some versions better than others.

Their latest menu is a little "Americanized" for my taste, serving garlicky roasted potatoes and asparagus with Wiener Schnitzel. I prefer spaetzel and red cabbage with apples, personally. It was all good, though, and surprisingly, the asparagus was cooked perfectly. They also dropped the hasenpfeffer from the menu, which my wife misses.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
Y
The problem with German food is it is so limited. The better dishes are not something you want as a steady diet. Same is true of the umpteen sausages. So restaurants specializing in it must have a wide drawing locale. This is not so easy. I remember years ago the original Grammers downtown. Over a period of time I felt the food was just not quite up to expectations, particularly the sauerbraten. My mother, god rest her soul, made sauerbraten to die for. Of course it took her half a week to prepare it.

On one of my trips to Germany, I flew into Hamburg. The flights were delayed and by the time I got to my hotel it was getting late. I went down to the hotel dining room and asked what could I order to eat. The waiter said, well sir they usually can always cook up some calves liver and onions along with potatoes and left over beef gravy. It was fantastic, but not the kind of meal you want every day.
I disagree with this. Yes, a lot of German food can be hearty and rich, but frankly, there is much more variety than most Americans can appreciate. German restaurants in the US serve what you expect: sausages, sauerbraten, and schnitzel, and very often not well executed. Go to Germany and you find a surprising diversity of foods. In the Viktualienmarkt in Munich (their answer to Findlay Market) you will find some of the most amazing seafood stands and impeccable vegetables. In the North Sea regions, they eat tons of seafood, and not just pickled herring. Chicken is a staple on German menus, and yet it can be darn hard to find potato pancakes in a Bavarian restaurant. We Americans think that's all they eat.

In the south of Germany you'll find a lot of Italian influence in cooking, and in Berlin you're lucky to find "German" food at all...it's a European cuisine all its own.

You do allude to one of the problems with good German cooking...the recipes are hard and can involve many steps to get it really right. Sauerbraten, for example, can take days to prepare, if done authentically. And very often, a dish like blaukraut (red cabbage) if not done right is watery and has an unpleasant color. Very few US German restaurants really put the effort in that's necessary.

Last edited by t45209; 01-08-2013 at 07:31 PM..
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:58 PM
 
Location: OH
688 posts, read 863,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CinciFan View Post
It's in the "Demolition Watch" thread.

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/inde...opic=14231.595
Thank you for the link. There seems to be a fair amount of speculation. Some say it's being demo'd, others say it's simply for sale, or available for sublet of the bar. If anyone knows anything definitive I do have a contact already in the beer hall / restaurant industry that has inquired if I can find the real estate agent on Christy's Lenhardt's. Any of you have a contact I can pass along?
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,360,925 times
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The first thing to recognize is how many of the social organizations celebrating German heritage are concentrated on the west side of Cincinnati, the Germania Society on West Kemper Rd, the Donauschwaben Society on Dry Ridge Rd, the Kolping Center on Mill Rd. As the original German immigrants began to move out of the conjested OTR a large percentage of them went west up the hills.

I always considered the west side to be much more steeped in German heritage than the east side where I lived. It seemed people on the east side moved much more frequently, perhaps not having as strong of ties to a particular neighborhood.

Some of the decline of the west side makes me very sad when I think back at the huge family picnics the Schottlekotte side of the family used to have at Harvest Home Park in Cheviot where between 200-300 descendents showed up. It was held in late summer just before there was a nip in the air. A requirement was to bring a dish to share. There were always several varieties of hot German potato salad, wursts, sauerkraut, all the old staples. I remember Reubel's Heidelberg Rye was the wrapping of choice for the wursts. My mother's specialty was German Double Dark Chocolate Cake, the kind with the moist texture chocolate cake just indulgently smothered in rich dark chocolate icing. She would make several for the picnic and people just pigged out. To add insult to injury we always had real vanilla ice cream to pile on the plate next to the cake.

As others have commented the German heritage of Cincinnati continues to be diluted, and I recognize it will continue. Some of it is due to the fact the best German cuisine takes time (equated to labor and cost) to prepare. A truely great sauerbraten is a work of art, requiring a long time to marinate to achieve both taste and texture. I have had it prepared from several different cuts of meat and the difference is in the skill of the person doing the marinating. Many cuts of beef if prepared peoperly can make a good sauerbraten.

If I go someplace and they serve me a not so well prepared sliced beef roast with a gravy consisting of some ginger snaps whipped up in a blender I want to puke. It's when I wonder how many people believe that is sauerbraten.

That alone is why I refuse to give up our family recipe for preparing goetta. Tradition is tradition, pure and simple. If others want an accelerated recipe and are satisfied, fine and dandy. But I will stick with the old approach. I do sometimes wonder how the Dorsels Steel Cut Pin Oats became the standard for Cincinnati goetta as they were created in Indiana. I have found some available in Europe but it is difficult to determine whether they are equivalent or not.
[SIZE=5] [/SIZE]
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Old 01-08-2013, 08:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kjbrill View Post
Yes, you are correct, it was the Black Forest which actually relocated to the Mason area from the west side of Cincinnati. They were on Route 42 north of Sharonville between Pisgah and Mason.
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I have to say, I think it was a mistake for the Fraundorfers to move Black Forest to Mason. That was the sticks in those days, and I think it really alienated a lot of their core customers. They tried to be more of a destination restaurant, pulling in busloads of tourists at times, but it wasn't sustainable. The food started to slip in later years, but we still liked going there, and I remember Herr Fraundorfer coming around with paddle full of schnapps offering a drink on the house for good customers. When the Fraundorfers decided to retire, they sold to a long time employee, who I don't think had the capital or the business sense to revitalize the place and it quickly went out of business. It's a shame for sure, but it's nice to see the Fraundorfers still active with several of Cincinnati's German societies.

This is a recurring theme, though. When the original owners step out of the picture and it is no longer a labor of love, the end is inevitable. The only one that ended on a high note was Forest View Gardens...immensely popular, and when the parents saw that their children had no interest, they shut it down. It was a great loss when FVG closed about 10 or 12 years ago, but at least it didn't die a slow, lingering death like Lenhardt's.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
9,259 posts, read 13,360,925 times
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t45209... Thanks for reminding me of Forest View Gardens. It was one I just couldn't think of. In addition to what they were famous for, my memories go back to when I was young and attending wedding receptions there. Usually Saturday afternoons/evenings and absolutely fabulous.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Cincinnati
4,007 posts, read 4,827,918 times
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The family plans to keep the building and lease out the business.
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Old 01-10-2013, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,165 posts, read 57,288,199 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by t45209 View Post
The only one that ended on a high note was Forest View Gardens
That place was such a blast! Even if you went in with just one other person, you left with at least a dozen new BFFs.

And the Black Forest was the restaurant that taught me to appreciate cabbage prepared properly -- for instance, not cooked to death in bacon grease like my Polish grandmother served it ...
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:15 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
4,730 posts, read 10,931,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomJones123 View Post
The family plans to keep the building and lease out the business.
Not to sound skeptical especially to one whose research is so thorough - but what is your source for this welcome news?
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