Hearty food in the mountains at the Brauhaus

Author: By Debbie Eichler
Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008
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If you plan a scenic drive through the Shawangunks then you will certainly want to make a stop at the Mountain Brauhaus in Gardiner. The restaurant has a long-standing reputation for its home-cooked German and Bavarian food. It is a family gathering place for locals and a favorite stop for weekenders visiting New Paltz and Minnewaska.

My husband and I, who rarely agree on which restaurant to go to, were easily able to decide on the Mountain Brauhaus to celebrate our anniversary.

We were in the mood to relax and enjoy, savor a hearty meal and not be rushed – and that was exactly what we got! We went on a Saturday evening, so we were not surprised to discover we would have a short wait for a table. We decided to sit at the bar and try one of their German beers. The bartender was quite personable and knowledgeable about the wide selection of specialty draft beers and imported beers.

The bar was located in the first dining room, a warm and homey room with knotty pine walls, lace curtains at all the windows and cozy little tables. The waitresses are dressed in traditional Bavarian costume, with flower print dresses, aprons and white blouses with puffy sleeves. Our waitress was friendly and attentive and seemed to enjoy making sure that we had what we wanted.

The main dining room was warmly decorated with lots of woods, carpet and large windows. For guests fortunate to be seated at a window, there was a gorgeous view of the valley looking toward New Paltz.
We were beginning to get hungry, so we were delighted when our waitress arrived with a basket of fresh, dark German pumpernickel bread, half with raisins and half plain, and lots of fresh butter. Mmm, it was wonderful, but I had to control myself so I didn’t spoil my appetite before dinner came. I ordered a salad of fresh spring greens with a delicate buttermilk herb dressing to start my meal.

Choosing an entree was difficult for both of us. The choice of hearty home-style dinners ranged from sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, knockwurst, yankee pot roast, steak, chicken dishes, as well as untraditional items that had a distinct Asian flair and some interesting vegetarian choices. Each entrée comes with a choice of potato, including potato pancakes, potato dumplings, mashed potatoes, German potato salad, fries or spaetzle. There was also a choice of vegetable which was braised red cabbage, sauerkraut, or the vegetable of the day.

At last we made up our minds. Walt chose the traditional sauerbraten, which turned out to meet with his approval. His family is German on both sides and his father used to make a terrific Sauerbraten. He admitted it was not as spicy as his father’s, but tasty! It came with a sweet and sour gravy, potato dumplings and red cabbage. I tasted the sauerbraten and it was excellent. I ordered the beef rouladen – tender rolled strips of angus beef stuffed with bacon, paprika, onions, mustard, pickle and spices. It was served in a rich, spicy dark sauce. It was heavenly! I chose the potato pancakes and red cabbage.

This was a special night out so we enjoyed taking our time eating and talking between courses. Our food was definitely filling and absolutely delicious! Although the dining room was full, the service was excellent that night, and our waitress never made us feel rushed. If you are looking for a quick meal and want to dash, this might not be what you are looking for. This is a place where you will want to linger with good friends and family. It’s comfort food in a relaxed country setting.

Our waitress returned with the dessert menu and since we were celebrating, we decided to indulge in dessert. I was full, but determined not to pass on dessert when there were so many tempting selections. I settled on something light. It was a very light and frothy Grapefruit-Honey Mousse in a shallow pool of
fresh squeezed and tangy grapefruit juice and topped off with a drizzle of local fresh honey and fresh mint. It was refreshing and yummy.

Walt chose his all-time favorite, cheesecake, but this was not your everyday cheesecake. It was a very light but creamy Lavender and Vanilla Bean Cheesecake topped with wild blueberry sauce. Walt is a cheesecake connoisseur and he commented that it might possibly be the best cheesecake he had ever eaten. It was a memorable dining experience. We will definitely be returning to the Mountain Brauhaus and look forward to bringing our two sons there the next time they come to visit.
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