By Eric Sturniolo
Photography by Annie Shustrin (http://travelshus.com)
Sometimes life needs a little Brooklyn magic. After unknowingly growing up 5 miles apart in the Black Forest region of Germany, Ayana and Tobias Holler met here, in Fort Greene, and married. This is lucky for us, since together they opened Black Forest Brooklyn.
The interior is expansive, yet the communal tables make it seem cozy. Warning…seating is first come first served. There’s exposed brick, reclaimed wood (this is Brooklyn), and a fun mix of people both eating and serving. Wood carved cuckoo clocks, famous from the region, adorn a back wall.
German biergartens seem to be everywhere in NYC. And like most, Black Forest Brooklyn offers a great brezel with mustard. It was served quick, hot, soft, and chewy, and is a great way to get some food in your stomach while perusing the menu and drinking a beer. The kartoffelpuffer mit apelmus (potato latkes with apple sauce) are more bitter than I’m used to, but had a great crunchy shell ($9).
But what makes Black Forest Brooklyn special are the recipes brought from the owners’ villages in the foothills. An interesting influence of French cooking and flavors elevates the food here from the standard wursts and spaetzle you can get anywhere these days. The standout here is their original flammkuchen (literally “baked in the flames”), a thinly rolled flatbread topped with sour cream, onions, and bacon, then cooked in a stone oven. The sour cream becomes thick when cooked and binds the bacon and onions, which give it a nice salty kick and slightly bitter taste. It’s light, doughy, and just delicious. They also offer less traditional versions including truffled mushrooms and onions, and spicy citrus kale, roasted pumpkin, cauliflower and toasted almonds (all are $13).
The Nurnberg entrée is five small grilled Nurnberger pork sausages, apple and beer brined sauerkraut, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a house salad. A slice of sausage, with some sauerkraut on top and a load of potatoes on top of that is pretty much the perfect forkful. ($16)
Now to the beer. They offer a 14 tap selection of pilsners, lagers, schwarzbier (black lagers), and kellerbier (a cloudy, more yeasty unfiltered lager). I really enjoyed a Kostritzer Schwarzbier ($7 for 0.5L) , with its malty smokiness and coffee/chocolate hints. It was still very drinkable and was great on a cold winter night. Riegele Kellerbier was another highlight ($8 for 05.L). It starts out sour and musty, and ends with some hops and fruit.
Black Forest Brooklyn is a great addition to the area. I recommend it for dinner or a quick German beer at the long bar.
Black Forest Brooklyn (733 Fulton St between Oxford St & Elliott Pl. Fort Greene, Brooklyn (718) 935-0300 blackforestbrooklyn.com)