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Posts from the ‘Glendale’ Category

Eaten, Barely Blogged: Schnitzel, Hot Pot, $1 Oysters

zum stamtisch trio

Zum Stamtisch might not serve the best German food in NYC, but you have to appreciate its longevity. (The first thing I ever wrote for money in NYC–and was paid 7 to 14 times more than what I’ve been offered for blog posts in modern day–was about German bars in Glendale. Zum Stamtisch is the only one of four still standing in its 2002 form.) And commitment to Bavarian kitsch. This is not a young person’s restaurant, especially not on an early Sunday evening. Everything could use a few shakes of salt (perhaps the clientele is watching their sodium intake). The schnitzel, available in pork only, is a stellar specimen, though, with a super crisp-and-craggy breading that’s not oily in the least. The mustardy vinegar-based potato salad is also well done; the starchy chunks have a few browned edges that add a little character. There is an impressive list of after dinner digestifs that does include Jaeger and Bailey’s but also gets a little more esoteric. Forget Fernet, this is Underberg and Escorial Grün.

little sheep

Little Lamb. I’ve said this before but I’m still not sure who’s ripping of whom. Little Lamb Happy Family, which has sat on Flushing’s Main Street for some time, is a blatant counterfeit.  But Little Sheep, which opened last year and Little Lamb, which recently appeared in the SkyView Center, are cut from the same cloth, complete with flat screen TVs showing videos of the Mongolia-based chain’s origin story. Little Sheep is bigger and has a liquor license (though Lamb serve what appears to be cola in wine carafes). Little Lamb has a view of the Applebee’s, its neighbor, and was still doing a 10% off promo when I visited (both pros, if you ask me). Bizarrely, the entire seafood section had an X through it on the order form (a con). The spicy side of the half-and-half broth contained an unusual amount of cumin–I’ve never had a hot pot where cumin seeds stick to everything, and the greens in the mixed vegetable platter were kind of strange and included lettuce (I find cooked lettuce grotesque) as well as weird frilly leaved weeds I’d never seen before. Everything was pleasant enough, though if this were a competition Little Sheep would win by a (wooly) hair.

extra fancy trio

Extra Fancy has always struck me as more of a drinking establishment even though both times I’ve eaten there in the past it has been fine (if not full of loud drunken people encroaching on my space). Apparently, they are trying to get fancier with the addition of a new chef. That seemed to translate to a $35 steak special, lobster pie and more charcuterie. I didn’t even realize they did a $1 oyster happy hour, practically a requirement in Williamsburg, but it was appreciated. A chicken pate topped with a layer of cider jelly and a big dose of toasted pistachios was one of the better I’ve had of late, bone marrow with barbecue-sauced brisket and Texas toast was also fun and now makes two restaurants in a six-block radius serving bone marrow with Texas toast (see Brooklyn Star). I stuck to the shared plates, but will most likely return in the very near future because I sometimes Lent dine to appease others and live down the street.



Where Subways Fear to Tread

Atlas_park The Sunday before last, I needed to kill time in Queens so I decided to check out Glendale’s mall-in-progress, The Shops at Atlas Park because I like going places where subways don't reach. I’d eaten lunch in Sunnyside and also had to eat dinner in Jackson Heights, but didn’t want to go all the way back home to Brooklyn to wait for my appetite to reappear (I have harbored fantasies about somehow being able to remove meals, without barfing, so you can immediately eat another).

I wouldn’t say I’m a mall connoisseur, but I do have my standards. And while I realize this shopping center isn’t fully realized, this one didn’t do much for me. Even though Atlas Park is brand new and ‘00s style, there’s something about it that reminded me of an old beat-up long gone Portland mall called Eastport Plaza. I took a bunch of photos of the raggedy half-empty collection of stores back in the pre-blogging, mid-‘90s but I’m sure what I did with them.

Stein_mart It had its hey day in the early ‘80s and was never much to look at even then. It was small (note that mall wasn’t in the name either) and had stores like Newberry (R.I.P.), Frederick’s of Hollywood, Doo-Da (a Spencer’s rip off) and Orange Julius. (I saw santa there when I was five or so and he said, “here’s a candy cane for your brother.” Hmm, I didn’t have a brother.) Now one of Portland’s only Wal-Marts (weird that both locations are on 82nd Ave.) is in the old space and they’ve completely remodeled the block into a strip mall, (is that website classy or what?) complete with an Izzy's, my favorite NW pizza buffet. I'd dare say it's the same clientele that was attracted to the old busted mall.

Gallerywood38lg All that was open at Atlas Park was a J. Jill, an Amish Market (which I don’t think is Amish but merely a chain of overpriced midtown delis), California Pizza Kitchen and Stein Mart. I had been curious about Stein Mart because I’ve seen TV ads, but have never set foot in one (this is the only one in NYC). It felt like a pricier Marshalls, which is amusing because I used to think Marshalls was a more expensive Ross (which they don’t have in New York state). There’s nothing remarkable about Stein Mart unless you like decorating your home with 3-D wood cut-outs spelling inspirational words like “peace” and “family.”

Atlas_park_cinemas The movie theater was also open and we did that thing that normally baffles me—just showing up with no plan and picking a movie on the spot. Little Miss Sunshine was the lesser of the cinematic evils on offer (I swear I’m not a snob, I just like movies with dialogue and regular kinds of characters where not a lot happens and you end up feeling kind of sad. I would like to see Half Nelson and Factotum in the immediate future). I will say that Regal Cinemas has insane customer service. Everyone’s cheerful and full of hellos and thank yous. No one talks, let alone yells, during the film. I was kind of scared. This is the anti-Court Street Stadium. Even the kid with a broom and dustpan who walked in front of our row during the movie whispered excuse me.

I wouldn’t mind paying The Shops at Atlas Park another visit in 15 years (oh my goodness, I just realized that would make me 49) and seeing if it has turned all ghostly and dilapidated like Eastport Plaza.

The Shops at Atlas Park * 8000 Cooper Ave., Glendale, NY

Zum Stammtisch

I'll admit my knowledge of German cuisine barely extends beyond what I grew
up with at the debatably authentic Rheinlander in Portland, Oregon. I used
to go nuts for the fondue (and middle-aged, lederhosen-clad accordionist
who's been there for like 20 years, is still there, and once made me laugh
so hard I cried by playing my request of "Consider Yourself").

Zum Stammtisch has neither fondue, nor accordions. However, they
do go for the full Teutonic, taxidermy and cuckoo clock treatment, and
serve plenty of goodies no one in Portland would dare touch like head

I went whole hog and ordered the Bayerische Bauern Platte filled
with potato salad and sauerkraut and topped with a bratwurst, kassler
rippchen (smoked pork loin) and leberkase, which I couldn't for the life of
me figure out. It tasted sort of livery, but the texture was springy like
bologna. I found out leberkase translates literally as "liver
cheese" and that sounds about right. On the opposite side of the
spectrum, Jessica, the unfortunate vegetarian in tow had only one choice
(amusingly, "vegetables available by request" quietly sits at the
bottom of each page of the menu) and what a peculiar one. A strangely
non-German grilled camembert, consisting of two rounds of breaded, fried
cheese on english muffins topped with jellied cranberry sauce?!

Oh my, they know how to do it up in Queens. Really, I've been
thinking about returning ever since.

Zum Stammtisch * 6946
Myrtle Ave., Glendale, Queens


I was kind of nervous, seeing how this was supposedly a German restaurant
though they had a "Bistro Bar Menu," advertising a blooming onion. But they
did have a German section on the regular menu, so I opted for an acceptable
sauerbraten with pretty good sauerkraut. Things got scary German when James
insisted our waiter, who did have a clean-shaven head, was a skinhead and
had Aryan Nation tattoos. I didn't really believe him, he just looked like a
youngster who might be into metal, and it's not like James knows Nazis. I
mean, I'm the one from the NW where Aryan youth run rampant. However, things
got much freakier a few nights later when I returned to the neighborhood to
try another German restaurant, Von Westernhagen's, and there was a big,
loud, middle-aged, crew-cutted Nazi-esque figure at the bar. He plainly said
"sieg heil, white power" numerous times and matter-of-factly made his
feelings known about the black character on "The Green Mile," which happened
to be playing on TV. They do say Queens is the most ethnically diverse
county in the entire United States, though you might not guess in Glendale.

Closed: It's been gone awhile, but I just remembered. I'm pretty sure
they have a Long Island location, though. (6/6/05)

Gebhardt's* 6506 Myrtle Ave., Glendale, Queens