German food just doesn't garner the same excitement as flashier cuisines in the city. I guess its perceived as stodgy, heavy, unhealthy. Not trendy like Japanese or perennially popular like Italian. And honestly, my knowledge doesnt extend much beyond bratwurst and schnitzel. (I'm curious about the food scene in Germany because Berlin is totally hip–they must be doing innovative things that Americans are completely obvious of. Sure, Spain gets all the press, but maybe its time for the Deutsche to do their thing.) But I'm interested, nonetheless.
Rarely setting foot into the West Village, I was trying to come up with someplace to eat and drink, with an emphasis on drinking, on a Friday night that wouldn't be obnoxious or entail the words caliente or cab. Newish Lederhosen, which hasnt gotten any press that I'm aware of, seemed to fit my needs.
The restaurant almost seems out of place for the neighborhood. When I think sauerkraut I don't think Bleecker Street. Most others don't either judging from their empty dining room. The bar up front had its stools filled, but it was a tiny bit off putting being the only food seeking customers in the picnic table and giant alpine mural back space. At one point, an after work group piled in, and after being seated, left. I think from the street you get the impression there's a back garden and this causes disappointment. Maybe German food is synonymous with beer garden.
But I loved the vibe, very down to earth, German pop music (from the '70s it sounded), friendly staff, bathrooms like it was someones home, maybe your grandmas: Kleenex box, air freshener can, pink cotton towel with a butterfly appliqu on a silver wall-mounted loop (the mens had a blue towel). Definitely not trendy or trying too hard. I'm not sure who the target audience is, which makes me worry that this place wont last.
The food is straightforward, traditional and reasonably priced. Usual suspects like sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel are on the menu. Almost everything is under $12, and many items well under that mark. I had a bratwurst on a roll with shared potato pancake and spaetzle on the side. Simple, carby and good.
Lederhosen * 39 Grove St., NewYork, NY