I've been going to Bavarian Manor in the northern Catskill area for about 7 years now and absolutely love this place! did a search and didn't see any posts on it so thought I'd use a recent dinner report to share the tip and spread the word on this place. It's about a 10 minute drive from exit 21 on the NYS Thruway, so may be of interest to people visiting Greene, Ulster or Columbia counties. The link below has directions.
First the atmosphere - the Bavarian Manor has been around for well over 100 years, and has been run by the same family since 1930 (the current generation - husband runs the kitchen - his wife, Suzanne, runs the dining room/bar (she's great, makes everyone feel at home - happy to make recommendations from drinks to food). It's a big old Victorian inn with lots of fun and funky touches (paintings, mounted animals, old German folk art) on beautiful grounds with a big wrap around porch with lots of rocking chairs for before or after dinner hanging out. It's in one of those mountain top vacation areas with lots of Alpine-style houses (really adds to atmosphere and dining experience - to wind your way up the mountain towards this place - passing all the old Catskill buildings, small towns.) The dining room is very big, but still very homey, and warm. They often have entertainment - small 4 pieces bands that play the standards and 60-ish couples swing dance like my grandparents would on occasion. The service can be slow at times (although appetizers come quickly to get you started), also - they are usually busy, so reservations help.
Although the atmosphere (both inside and outside) is wonderful and unique - it's all about the food here.
For drinks - they always have an interesting selection of German wines and beers (many on tap, they always have a couple nice weisse beers on tap). My favorite is a Berliner Weisse beer that is a sour and slightly acidic wheat beer that they serve with a drizzle of raspberry syrupy. Not too sweet or fruity, just wonderful!
The appetizers that we've tried have all been good. Our favorites are their homemade fresh onion soup with Gruyere, their delicious crispy edged potato pancakes with homemade applesauce, and their fried mushrooms (fried mushrooms?? you say... yes!), these are fresh lightly batter dipped whole mushrooms - that cook up extra crispy on the outside but tender and perfect on the inside - so you get this crisp toothsome bite that squirts delicious fresh mushroom broth and tastiness into your mouth, they're served with cocktail sauce and go GREAT with germen beer. Even though a very nice large salad comes with the meal - and servings here are HUGE, we can't resist their fried mushrooms.
The bread served is rye and brown bread (sometimes a little dry, not sure if they are making homemade anymore?...) The house salad that comes with your meal is very large with tomato, cucumber and onion and uses nice romaine and other good greens (it's unusual to get anything but iceberg in this area) - their blue cheese dressing is homemade and excellent (and I consider myself to be a blue cheese dressing connoisseur !).
The main dishes are the main attraction here - I'd say we've tried every one of their German specialty dishes over the years (and large parties) and I would recommend every one. Here are our top 3:
- Sauerbraten - My partner/fellow chowhound is a sauerbraten expert - if it's on the menu - she's ordering it! and she says theirs is hands down the best she's had. So tender it cuts with a fork, amazing sauce with intricate and delicate flavors (and not thickened with corn starch)
- Rouladen - thin pounded beef wrapped around bacon, a pickle and carrot spear, in a rich and flavor full brown gravy. I had never had this dish until I had it here - and now it's hard for me to order anything else. This is just a delicious and satisfying dish - that is so tender it falls apart as you try and lift it with your fork.
- The Wurst Platter - I believe they use Karl Emher sausages - and they make em great! the veal and pork are so juicy flavorful and melt in your mouth!
Also all their Schnitzel dishes are great - sometimes the cuts of meat are a little better than others (but always good). ask the owner - she'll tell you if it's good or great that day.
Side dishes are another thing that make this place outstanding. They have the best spaetzle we've ever had - the perfect mix of soft bits and ones that have brown crispy edges - browned with onions and butter - very tender, more melting in the mouth (it's a melt in the mouth kinda meal). They also have very good homemade potato dumplings (the size and texture of matzo balls!) - but I'd have to say substitute with the spaetzle - cuz you just gotta try it! (even better then the spaetzle at Gramercy Tavern). Their homemade red cabbage and sauerkraut are both excellent.
Deserts are good - especially their apple strudel. Our favorite is a cake with a custardy topping that's browned crisp - it's called something like "biederstein cake" - and it is scrumptious - get it if its a special!
They also are very well known for their Wild Game Dinner. I have not been, but the lodge is famous amongst hunters and is in a well known hunting area - so I'd assume that know how to do it up. They also have a fantastic 2 weekend German Alps Festival in July with big tents and lots of music.
This place has everything your looking for - if your looking for that Catskill Mountain-Bavarian Inn old time legend.
I wish all NYC Chowhounds who rav about Halo Berlin could check this place out just once and see what really great/well prepared german food tastes like ;-)