The Black Forest Mill brings classic German style to the Valley

Author: Bridget Schultz
Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2010

I have lived in the Hudson Valley for more than twenty years and can’t count the number of times I have driven past the Black Forest Mill in Highland Mills. Sitting atop a hill on Rte. 32, the family-oriented restaurant specializes in German cuisine. My parents have taken my grandma, a transplant from Germany, there a number of times. They’ve always been impressed with the food and tell me I should go, but I never had the chance until my co-worker and dining partner, Felice, suggested we try it one night.

When you walk into the restaurant, the first thing that pops out is the kitschy decor and furnishings. These include pictures of patrons lining the walls, plus beer steins and cuckoo clocks abound. They remind me of the tchotchkes that were around my grandma’s house.

A large menu

They have a full bar menu at the Black Forest, but Felice and I were each craving a beer after a hard day of work. I asked the waitress what pale beer she recommended and without hesitation she said the lager. Felice had the same. We each got a half liter and that was plenty for us.

The menu was overwhelming. Of course, there was plenty of standard German fare such as schnitzel, bratwurst, and goulash. Pork chops and steak were also on the menu, so there was a lot to choose from. While looking over the specials board, the meatloaf caught my eye. Felice was torn between the pork jagerschnitzel and the beef roulade filled with onions, bacon, and pickles. Ultimately her choice was made for her, since they were out of the roulade.

The food didn’t end with just the entrées. You get a table full of warm German potato salad and coleslaw; a choice of soup, salad, red cabbage, carrots, peas, or creamed spinach, as well as dessert and coffee or tea. These choices are part of the all inclusive dinner menu at the restaurant. Visit on an empty stomach.

Our only real criticism is about the service. After taking our order, our original waitress was inexplicably replaced by another. That may explain the confusion that followed. Our appetizers reached us before our drinks did. We had to ask the bus boy to bring our drinks, which was disappointing. The potato pancake appetizer, however, was not disappointing. Three large, perfectly fried cakes were placed in front of us with a side of homemade applesauce. The crispy cakes were delicious, especially when paired with the sweet applesauce.

Fun fare

After our appetizer, the potato salad and coleslaw were brought out. The potato salad was tangy and flavorful, but the coleslaw was a bit bland. After that, the food came out so quickly, that Felice and I almost had trouble keeping up.

Next were our soup and salad choices. I enjoyed the cream of cauliflower soup, which had just the right amount of salt and cream. Felice had the onion soup, which she thought was too oily and left an aftertaste.

The salads were small and featured a homemade dressing similar to a balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing is so popular, that it can be purchased in bottles at the front of the restaurant.

Our main courses came in good portions. Mine consisted of the tender meatloaf and a large scoop of mashed potatoes with light gravy. Felice’s pork jagerschnitzel came with her side dish choice of spätzle, a type of egg noodle.The spätzle was a perfect light companion to her fried jagerschnitzel. She enjoyed her dish.

For dessert you have a choice of black forest cake, carrot cake, walnut layer cake, ice cream or sherbet. I went with the carrot cake and Felice chose the walnut layer cake. The free dessert is a nice touch. We enjoyed our German feast and took home plenty of leftovers.

The Black Forest Mill is perfect for large groups. If you go on a weekend, you may hear some live music. I’m told that weekends get hectic, so make reservations. We went on a Thursday night and even then the crowd kept coming. I’m looking forward to returning in the fall to check out Oktoberfest, but the restaurant is worth a visit anytime of the year.

Bridget Schultz is the editorial associate at Hudson Valley Life. Felice Feinberg is a salesperson at HVL. Both enjoy dining out, but Felice, a former waitress, considers herself to be especially demanding about good food and service.

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