Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hoping for the Wurst: A Journal's Diner New York Entry #20

Despite my best efforts, I run into restaurants that do not deserve a full review: they lack interest or my tasting was insufficient. Hallo Berlin falls in both categories. Hallo Berlin is a small restaurant, a step up from fast food, with a pleasant garden in back.

Although Hallo Berlin is known for the most casual side of the menu (their wursts and a good selection of draft beer), it also offers more substantial German fare that I have not tried, such as schnitzel, rouladen, and sauerbraten.

What I did try - their wursts and a few side dishes - were ordinary and inoffensive. Fair value in a city in which the grand old Yorkville restaurants (the Bremen House Restaurant, the Jaeger House) have long passed from the scene. (The Heidelberg still serves German food, but I hear it is not worth the trip).

I found the Bratwurst satisfying, but my companion, a Milwaukee Cheesehead, felt it did not meet local standards. My Currywurst was somewhat dried out and the curry sauce, always mild by Mumbai standards, could still have used a little oomph. I enjoyed the sweet red cabbage and the tangy sauerkraut, but found the pickled potato salad a bit of a bore. Our rollmops (wine herring stuffed with vegetables) were soggy and sour.

With its modest prices Hallo Berlin satisfies a sausage craving, but unfortunately this is not, ahem, wurst at its best.

Hallo Berlin
626 10th Avenue
Manhattan (Hell's Kitchen)
212-977-1944

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