Hidden on New Highway, just off Route 110, sits inconspicuously waiting for diners and drinkers to wander in and savor some German-American fare and home brewed beers.
Overview: Twelve years ago, Black Forest opened in Farmingdale and began cooking food and brewing beer in the German tradition of their mother company, Privatbrauerei Hoepfner of Karlsrue, and has since become one of the best kept secrets in town.
Drinks: Owner Todd Waite was very clear that their “focus is on beer.” Black Forest brews all beer on premises and produces a pilsner, amber, a hefe-weizen and a smoked porter. They are even brewing a chocolate doppelboch which is very dark, malty and has hints of Mexican chocolate creeping through the toasty flavor.
"The hefe-weizen was originally a summer beer, but it was so popular, we began brewing it year round,” Waite said.
Appetizers: In addition to beer, Black Forest offers up a large menu from bar bites such as wings, Bavarian soft pretzels, lager fondue and potato pancakes to four different 10oz. burgers, steaks, seafood and ribs, not to mention sauerbraten, wiener schnitzel, and other German favorites. If you are in the mood to eat, you will not be disappointed in the selection.
The Brew Haus Hot Wings came out piping hot and the first thing you notice is the smell of heat. They were cooked perfectly, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and decent sized wings. Tossed in a mixture of clarified butter and hot sauce, Black Forest doesn’t stray from the traditional hot wing recipe. The sauce was not as spicy as it smelled, but was flavorful and perfect for the bar patrons looking for a starter to their meal. Black Forest wings are a bargain at $9 per dozen.
Entree: Is there something about sitting at the bar that makes a cheeseburger taste better? Yes or no, Black Forest’s cheeseburger tastes great. Their cheeseburger is served on a brioche roll with your choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, a pickle slice and a side of fries. This 10 oz. burger was cooked medium, topped with pepper jack cheese, and spiced well. At $9.00 for the burger, it was a lot of food and flavor for the price.
Overall Experience: If there was a downside to the eating experience at Black Forest, it was the potato pancake with applesauce. It was a bit undercooked and under spiced. A bit more pepper and onions in the mixture and cooking it until it is crispy brown on both sides would have helped. This side runs $3.50, so order the Bavarian pretzel instead.
Black Forest’s Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from 3 - 6 p.m. and has Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.. Dueling Pianos on Friday nights at 9 p.m. is so popular among the regulars, reservations are suggested.
Manager, Shane Nittolo implores people to stop on by, try the food and drink some beer. She wants people to know that “we’re here.”