Jump to content

Old Europe, German in Glover Park since 1948 - The Herold Family on Wisconsin Avenue and Calvert Street


Recommended Posts

Old Europe!

Thanks for the reminder! Every so often I think about going there, but it always slips my mind. I may have to put that on the agenda for this weekend.

Suggestions on dinner selections?

Edited by DonRocks
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure how it slipped my mind to post about Old Europe, but mdt and I had dinner there with our S.O.'s a few weeks ago. Tightly packed place but a really comfortable atmosphere. Homey. Lots of flags and portraits of 18th century commoners hanging on the walls. (One of which looked strangely like JG. How old are you, JG? :lol: ) Models of ships hung from the ceiling and a rather ancient woman played piano and sang to modest applause.

The menu had everything you'd expect at a German restaurant. Lots of dishes that are difficult to pronounce and can easily be turned into drinking games after your third liter of beer.

We had a selection of appetizers for the table including assorted sausages, pickled vegetables, potato pancakes and something else that I don't recall. I had the wienerschnitzel which was by no means a gourmet delight, but was perfectly satisfying and affordably priced. Oktoberfest beer to wash it all down. Skipped dessert when we were struck with the idea of going to Citronelle for it instead.

I'd return. Reservations seem to be a must.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My next-door neighbor back in the 1970's was a retired Army Sargeant who had been stationed in Germany. He had a pal who lived at the Old Soldiers' Home (a woman, no less) and the three of us would treat ourselves by going to Old Europe for a dinner of weinerschnitzel and beer and then go to the Marquis Lounge at the Sheraton and catch Mark Russell's show. It was a pretty inexpensive night of entertainment at that time. Such good memories.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hadn't been to Old Europe in several years, and not surprisingly, it hasn't changed a bit. The Herold family has owned this restaurant for 35 years, and is sticking with a winning formula.

All of Old Europe's sausages last week were purchased, except for one from the "Game Specials" menu: Wildschweinwurst ($8.50), a house-made wild boar sausage served with cranberry sauce and mustard greens. This was an excellent appetizer if you like wurst, and comes sliced into sections (after being cooked) for easy sharing.

From the regular menu, a Wiener Schnitzel ($21) was pretty much as expected, the slightly dry veal seeming even drier because of the thick breading, and the vegetable medley standard-issue frozen. However, the home-fried potatoes lent moisture, salt, and depth to this otherwise neutral dish.

Also from the game menu, I figured the Wildschweinbraten ($28) came from the same purchase that made the Wildschweinwurst (Wildschwein = "wild swine," to state the obvious), but this was braised, and came served with a fine bread dumpling and some sweet red cabbage with apple.

Desserts look like they're purchased, but are actually made in-house. A slice of Blackforest Cake ($6) was thankfully moist, and was fought over with dueling forks, right down to the maraschino cherry on top.

I was sorry to have missed the engaging blind pianist Janiece Kent, who still performs at Old Europe Thursday through Saturday nights (I only mention that she's blind because she wears her blindness as a badge of honor). I remember about ten years ago, this very outgoing pianist burst into a loud refrain right as an older, sourpuss waitress was walking by with a tray of food, causing an angry scowl and an eye-roll. To this day, I think Ms. Kent did it on purpose, just to piss her off, and our server last week confirmed that the dour waitress is still working at the restaurant - that didn't surprise me, because not much seems to change at Old Europe.

The etched Mettlachs on the top shelves (yes, I know very well what they are) are surpassed by the ones at Crisfield, but are still impressive.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone eaten here since 2009? I am supposed to go tomorrow night, don't know what to get.

Crap--yes! We go here maybe once every three months or so. "Crap" because it's one of those spots I never think to post about and should have since, as you point out, since '09!

Anyway, since it has now been at least 2 months since the last visit, I won't be as specific (and thus helpful) as I'd like to be. So qualified:

- Sausage dishes are good. One of us nearly always gets that.

- I'm a fan of the herring appetizer if you're into that kind of thing

- Salads are fine; with smoked fish better

- Stews or dishes with bone-in pork, veal or whatever have been pretty reliably good for us

- Always good choices of german beers on draft

- Love the perennial consistency of the place as Rocks wrote about two years ago. Seems to never really change in terms of food, venue, costumes/uniforms, decor. Love the blind pianist also though haven't seen her in awhile

Will try to remember to do a better/more thorough post next time we go. Hope you enjoy it. If nothing else, it's one of those OPITWTWAKOCA ('Oldest Places In Town w/ All Kinds Of Character & Authenticity') spots I hope endures for 50 more years. :)

Edit: just saw Rocks' new post. Of course what he wrote in DC dining too. Agree with all of it. Much more useful for you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old Europe: The steak tartare was the largest portion size I've ever had in the DC area for an appetizer. Mild spices that work well with the oil and side salad served on the dish. There's a lot about this restaurant that could use some revamping, but the steak tartare is the best value you're going to get in this area for a no-nonsense bocce-ball-sized mound of raw flavors, try it with the pumpernickle bread. Skip the trendy small plate stuff at the newer places.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I haven't been to Old Europe in quite some time. What all did you have? I'd love to go back if the food is good. I'd probably rather go to Old Europe for German food than all the way to Germany.

 

Don, apologies but I've forgotten how to quote from a different topic.  The above url is a question from TheHersch taken from the Help thread which seems better answered here.

We went to Old Europe this past week to celebrate a close relative's 80th brithday. He loved it and the rest of us enjoyed it.  I've been here several (even many) times previously but something about experiencing this through the eyes of or with an 80 year old with experience in Germany and love for the cuisine was new for me.

If you've never been and like German food, you should go.  We don't have outstanding German/Austrian/Alsatian cuisine in the DC area and this is about as good as it gets.  But, it's a great example of a very old restaurant (1948!) whose formula hasn't changed much but still very much works.

i won't detail all the kitsch and charm of the the venue since that has been described upthread. And, I can't remember everything we ordered but will describe the dishes I do recall. Didn't take a menu or notes and probably should have.

Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed:

APPS

Hering "Hausfrauen Art" $8.00

Marinated herring in sour cream with sliced apples, onions and pickles garnished with a petit salad bouquet

I've ordered this several times in the past.  Herring may be an acquired taste for some but this is very tasty with a nice balance of salt and sweet if you know and generally like cold fish dishes like this.

Gulasch Suppe $6.00

A chunky beef soup with paprika, bell pepers, onions and potatoes

Big hit with the person who ordered it.  I didn't try it and have never had it in previous visits.

MAIN COURSES

Pork Schnitzel or Chicken Schnitzel $20.00

I ordered this.  A very generous portion (two large, crispy slices of well-seasoned pork) served with a hearty mushroom gravy. I had it with their very good spatzle and some red cabbage.  Just a hearty and enjoyable dish.

Old Europe Sausage Combo $22.00

A combination of handmade Bratwurst, Bauernwurst & WeiíŸwurst,on a bed of Old Europe sauerkraut and potato dumplings

We've ordered this several times in the past. A very good rendition indeed.

Schweinshaxe Bayerische Art $22.00

Bavarian style, roasted pork hocks, served with Old Europe sauerkraut and potato dumplings

Another very hearty, rustic, Bavarian dish but really good for what it is.

There was also a meatloaf type dish another in our party ordered and really enjoyed but I can't find it in the menu they have online.

Finally, we shared a few slices of their Black Forest cake.  Fresh and enjoyable.  The 80 year old surprisingly said it was the best he'd ever had and he's been to Germany several times.  Overstatement to me but enjoyed the cake.

Something about this place is just warm, familiar, comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable if you like this type of cuisine.

It was a huge success for a picky 80 year old celebrating his birthday.  That they had four staff leading the entire restaurant in a rendition of "Happy Birthday" just sealed the deal. The 80-year old said he'd be a regular here if he lived in DC.

Bottom Line for TheHersch (aka the questioner): the food is "good" and my sense is you should go.  I think you'd enjoy it.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hadn't been to Old Europe in several years, and not surprisingly, it hasn't changed a bit. The Herold family has owned this restaurant for 35 years, and is sticking with a winning formula.

...

I was sorry to have missed the engaging blind pianist Janiece Kent, who still performs at Old Europe Thursday through Saturday nights (I only mention that she's blind because she wears her blindness as a badge of honor). I remember about ten years ago, this very outgoing pianist burst into a loud refrain right as an older, sourpuss waitress was walking by with a tray of food, causing an angry scowl and an eye-roll. To this day, I think Ms. Kent did it on purpose, just to piss her off, and our server last week confirmed that the dour waitress is still working at the restaurant - that didn't surprise me, because not much seems to change at Old Europe.

...

...

- Love the perennial consistency of the place as Rocks wrote about two years ago. Seems to never really change in terms of food, venue, costumes/uniforms, decor. Love the blind pianist also though haven't seen her in awhile

...

Wanted to do a separate post for this.

We learned when we were here a few nights ago that Ms. Kent passed away a year or two ago.  Very sad. They do have a new pianist who I think only plays on Friday and Saturday nights. Polka music.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There was also a meatloaf type dish another in our party ordered and really enjoyed but I can't find it in the menu they have online.

Was the meatloaf Leberkäse by chance? Perversely, "Leberkäse" means "liver cheese" but has no liver and no cheese in it. It's a very fine textured meatloaf which I actually don't care much for. Anyway, thanks for the detailed report, and I think I'll have to do dinner there some time soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Was the meatloaf Leberkäse by chance? Perversely, "Leberkäse" means "liver cheese" but has no liver and no cheese in it. It's a very fine textured meatloaf which I actually don't care much for. Anyway, thanks for the detailed report, and I think I'll have to do dinner there some time soon.

You're more than welcome, TH.  And, thank you for the reference on Leberkase.  Love learning things like this.  I've been to Germany many times but wasn't familiar with that dish.  Checking some online sites for photos, I think it likely that was what was ordered at our table.  The description of it on Wikipedia is consistent.  I'd normally have asked and learned what it was but was distracted by other goings-on at the table; most of all ensuring the guest of honor was having a good time!  The person who ordered it just called it "meatloaf" and it must have been an off-menu special.  I didn't try it but she did enjoy it quite a bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...