Heidelberg Restaurant | 1648 Second Ave. (between 85th & 86th Sts.) | 212.628.2332 | heidelbergrestaurant.com | |
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SOME POSTS, ADMITTEDLY, ARE long overdue. In this particular case, the reminders were plentiful. But my delay was more of just technical convenience than random oversight, and if I wanted to do a proper post, as I always do of course, I wanted to make sure that all the necessary elements fell properly into place.

For many reasons, it is impossible for me to forget (the) Heidelberg Restaurant. First of all, it's been in its Upper East Side location for 75 years. (I think only Glaser's Bake Shop has been up here longer). Many of my very good friends—who I see often socially—dine there on a very regular basis. And, most importantly, one of my very best friends and a roommate from almost 20 years ago, Dieter, not only works there, but his family owns the place.

I had done a previous post on the Heidelberg two years ago, but it wasn't planned and was rather impromptu. My long-ago ex-girlfriend, Rebecca, had volunteered to treat me to a birthday lunch there, and also saw it as the perfect time to introduce me to her new son. (He is adorable....)

But I wasn't really paying attention to what I was doing because I was so much into and interested in the company I was keeping than to do responsible photographer things like clean my lens or check my white balance. So, even despite my post-production skills, I wasn't too happy with my photos and have always vowed to return to take far more impressive, flattering, and appetizing shots.

So, choosing to reward myself with lunch at the Heidelberg, I was up extra early and on the computer getting as much of my other work out of the way so that I could enjoy a long and leisurely lunch, and was quite relieved to happen along the place by a little before 1 p.m.


Heidelberg Restaurant

I knew full well that I wold be eating at one of the outdoor tables in the front of the restaurant, but I entered anyway to get my obligatory interior shots, so that they unlucky of you that have never been here could get a greater sense of it's traditional-without-being-ironic decor.


Heidelberg Restaurant

Heidelberg Restaurant

Heidelberg Restaurant


Dieter wasn't on premise; he was not scheduled to work until later that evening. I gave him a quick call, though, to recommend some of the more indigenous German dishes. (I've had the weiner and jager schnitzel as well as the sausage platter of a variety of wursts more times than I would ever admit to a doctor!) He easily convinced me to try two of the dishes, which I eagerly awaited while plying through some hearty bread and creamy butter.


Heidelberg Restaurant Bread

I don't think I said leberkäse correctly once while I was there, but I did order it, a traditional sausage loaf that comes with potato salad and a fried egg.


Leberkäse with Potato Salad & Egg

Leberkäse with Potato Salad & Egg

Leberkäse with Potato Salad & Egg

Leberkäse with Potato Salad & Egg


The dish is simple and humble in its presentation, but tasted spectacular. The sausage loaf had the texture of a refined thick slice of good bologna, and was flavored by a rich combination of spices. This was a great dais for the soft-fried egg and a hit a ground mustard, which together augmented the leberkäse's unctuousness and almost guilty amount of porkiness. The runny yolk of the egg, which I'm always a fan of, evenly integrated the texture dichotomies between the hot protein and the chilled finely chopped yet still toothsome potato salad.

Next I ordered the weiner a la holstein, a breaded veal cutlet topped off with, again, an egg, capers, and anchovies. It comes with a sides of homefries and red cabbage.


Wiener a la Holstein with Homefries & Red Cabbage

Wiener a la Holstein with Homefries & Red Cabbage

Wiener a la Holstein with Homefries & Red Cabbage

Wiener a la Holstein with Homefries & Red Cabbage

Wiener a la Holstein with Homefries & Red Cabbage

Wiener a la Holstein with Homefries & Red Cabbage


Another simply delightful winner. Tender and smooth veal (yes, veal), cutlet, crunchy on its exterior with breading, gets salty kicks from two sources: one, the anchovies, adding a bit of briny headiness; the other, the capers, complimenting with their floral notes and hints of acidity. The sweetness of the beet juice in the red cabbage counters nicely and the egg—not runny due to my taking so long to photograph and eat my first dish—still succeeded in adding a final layer of richness to the whole event.

I've always enjoyed the fact that even though the younger neighborhood set will always flock to the Heidelberg to consume large, three feet-high glass, novelty "boots" of lager, the neighborhood faithful will always appreciate the restaurant as a great place to enjoy a great meal that will never leave you hungry.

It will only make you hungry (with at least jealousy) when others—like my friends, Rob, Hunter, Robyn, Chris, and Amy (who all have eaten there within the last week alone)—tell you when they're about to go have dinner or have just come back from having dinner.

And now that I've told you to go, you're now long overdue.

Bun Apple Tea!

.kac.

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Heidelberg Restaurant | 1648 Second Ave. (between 85th & 86th Sts.) | 212.628.2332 | heidelbergrestaurant.com | |