As opposed to the lone calendar date assigned to cultural celebrations like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, where you have to cram your corned beef eating and tequila drinking festivities into the span of a few mere hours, Oktoberfest–which officially takes place from September 17th-October 3rd this year–rolls out over 17 straight days. Some spots even extend their revelries up until Halloween! Which is to say, you’d be well advised to pace yourself–starting with single dish commemorations at Brooklyn’s top German/Austrian bars and restaurants.
Best Schnitzel: Werkstatt
Not only will you find pounded, pan-fried cutlets of Sterling Silver pork loin, chicken and cod (served with sides of potato and cucumber salad), Werkstatt throws vegetarians the rare bone with breaded coins of celery root as well–braised in milk until tender, and garnished with lemon and tartar sauce.
509 Coney Island Ave., (718) 284-5800
Best Wurst: Spritzenhaus
This sprawling Greenpoint beer hall astride McCarren Park compliments its sizable suds selection with an impressive sausage menu. Think 10 links like smoked garlic krainerwurst, Biala kielbasa made from local pork, handmade venison studded with organic spices, and duck larded with bacon and buzzed with chipotle, pressed into pretzel buns with toppings as diverse as sauerkraut and jalapeno jicama coleslaw, and sauces that run the gamut from curry chili ketchup to blue cheese walnut mayo.
33 Nassau Ave., (347) 987-4632
Best Sauerbraten: Café Steinhof
Hefty Tyrolean classics like sauerbraten–pot roast marinated and tenderized in pickling spices, and paired with red cabbage and potatoes–are the speciality of comfort-focused Café Steinhof; which has held court in Park Slope for over 15 years.
422 7th Ave., (718) 369-7776
Best Pretzels: Sigmund
They may not boast a dedicated location in Brooklyn, but Sigmund sources out their soft, handmade, organic flour-based pretzels (in large and mini sizes, in iterations such as everything, truffle cheddar, feta olive and churro, and with dips including honey mustard, beet horseradish and nutella) to local spots like Old Stanley’s Bar, Spritzenhaus, and Grand Prospect Hall.
Best Spaetzle: Prime Meats
Whether you regard spaetzle (soft, eggy, irregular dumplings, often extruded through a colander with a wooden spoon) as a side dish or a main course, the version at Prime Meats is hardly a meat-free afterthought, accented with fresh herbs and nutty, buttery gruyere.
465 Court St, (718) 254-0327
Best Potatoes: Peter Luger
If any Luger’s dish could distract from their famous porterhouse, it’s undoubtedly their German-style hash brown potatoes, paprika and white pepper-spiced, triple-cooked spuds that get deep-fried, sautéed with onions, and roasted in the oven until crisp, crusty and caramelized.
178 Broadway, (718) 387-7400
Best Kuchen: Black Forest Brooklyn
Having grown up in the Black Forest region, you can bet that husband and wife team, Ayana and Tobias Toller, produce a mean Schwarzwalder Kirchtorte–a chocolate gateau soaked with cherry brandy and layered with sour cherries. In fact, it’s only one in a series of sweets based on time honored family recipes; from warm apple crumb mounded with clouds of whipped cream, to schokoladenkuchen, flourless chocolate cake.
733 Fulton St., (718) 935-0300
Best Beer Selection: DSK
All 18 taps brim with an exclusively German beer lineup at Fort Greene’s indoor/outdoor biergarten, including wheats from Weihenstephaner, Erdinger and Andechs, Pilsners such as Jever, Bitburger and Krombacher, Lagers including Spaten and Hofbrau Muenchen and specialty options such as Köstritzer Schwarzbier, Bayreuther Zwickl and Berliner Weise, plus 20 assorted bottles besides.
710 Fulton St., (347) 841-4495
Werkstatt photo via Facebook
Spritzenhaus photo via Instagram
Cafe Steinhof photo via Facebook
Sigmund photo via Instagram
Prime Meats photo via Instagram
Black Forest photo via Facebook
DSK photo via Instagram