The first Oktoberfest, in 1810, ran appropriately from October 12 through 17. But nowadays, it's more like Septemberfestthe dates were pushed up to take advantage of warmer weather. This doesn't seem to bother most revelers, who are glad to drink their weight in Oktoberfest beer, which is dark and heavy, even if it's still hot out. Now that it's actually beginning to feel like Fall, all that Spaten is best soaked up with hearty German fare, like wursts and schnitzelthe perfect comfort foods. Here are some of our picks:
Killmeyers Old Bavaria Inn 4254 Arthur Kill Rd, Staten Island, 718-984-1202. Near the southernmost point of New York State, located in an old mansion brooding over the Arthur Kill and not far from Tottenvilles 1680 stone Conference House, Killmeyers is a convenient stopping place on your circumnavigational tour of Staten Island. Nothing more refreshing on a warm day than one of the German wheat beers on tap, accented with lemon, and we found that the outsize Bavarian platter of three bulging sausages (pick knockwurst, weisswurst, and bratwurst), sided with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and sweet stewed purple cabbage, provided perfect refection for a carload of sightseers. (Sietsema)
Schnitzel King 1720 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, 718-376-6490. In the Hall of the Schnitzel King the frying oil bubbles merrily, and into it fly the breaded chicken schnitzels. Fried to crispness, they're deposited on a baguette smeared with a sauce of your choice. Go crazy and get teriyaki. Even better is the shawarma, aromatic chicken heaped on a pita or a baguette, moistened with a wonderful papaya hot sauce halfway to being curry. Both sandwiches come heaped with your choice of crunchy condiments, including pickled entities, fried eggplant, and salad. (Sietsema)
Zum Stammtisch 69-46 Myrtle Ave, Queens, 718-386-3014. This German restaurant may indeed be 100 years old. It certainly looks like it with its dark wood decor and ranked beer steins. The name translates to something like "the communal table" and the restaurant anchors the dwindling German communities of Ridgewood, Middle Village, and Glendale. The standard schnitzels, wursts, and tangy-sweet sauerbraten are here evoked in superior renditions, and peripheral dishes of oxtail salad and homemade headcheese provide a certain culinary kinkiness. Best of all, though, is an amazing take on steak tartare, deep red and nearly fatless beef molded on bread points and garnished with capers and raw onions. And no egg! (Sietsema)
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