Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Ambry

The Ambry
3016 E. Commercial Blvd, Fort Lauderdale , Florida

When you arrive at The Ambry, it's obvious the kitsch will be as thick as the sauces and the refinement as thin as the schnitzel. For a German Restaurant, that's probably a good thing. Bavarian culture is the campy, happy Germany that America loves. Quiet, refined Germany can be a little scary, especially for the Eastern European Condo Comandos who come east for our ample early birds and meager parking.

Check out the German Grandma's bathroom they have!:
When the rest of my party arrived, we were instantly seated by a bubbly blonde with feathered hair in an intimate, brick walled, heavily directed in biersteins, beer mirrors & doilies. Seconds later we were happily greeted by an enthusiastic man and solid looking lady who guided us through the meal. The food was well explained and brought to us quickly. Any issues we had, (and we had some picky eaters with us) were promptly attended to. The only thing that bothered me is the way they took the order for the different courses,.

First, the took drink orders. Then the brought us the drinks. (On Draft: Spaten Lager, Warsteiner, Tucher, Weissbeer, Koestrizer Dark. They are all huge pints and about $7 each. I got the Koestrizer, which is a black beer. It was surprisingly light and thin. There are also bottled and various liquors, we ignored them.) We drank the drinks. We looked at our menus. We all finished our enormous beers. We looked hungrily at the salad bar a few feet away. The salad bar comes with the dinners and we would be entitled to it as soon as we put in our dinner order. But not yet, not yet. sip, sip, sip.

Then, they took the appetizer orders. They served the orders to the 3 of the 10 people there while the rest of us clutched our menus with white knuckles. Those who did get apps struggled to find a place to stash their menus for the entree order.

Goulash Soup: One person, an industry insider, at my table exclaimed: "Oh my god this is sweet and sour soup!". He wasn't wrong.

Liver & Dumplings Soup: It is a giant dumping of liver. It looks like a big gray matzo ball of liver. If you like liver, you'll like the soup. If you hate liver, you will hate this soup. It has maximum liveryness.

Escargot: This was the first time I ever had escagrot! It was served in the little special designed escargot server pottery with butter and garlic and with a crusty piece of baguette. It pleased the palate of the French girl who ordered it and had been eating them since she was knee high to a snail. I tasted one speck of grit, but it was otherwise a pretty delicious thing. I have nothing to compare it to, but it was tasty.

Steak Tartar: They give you complete power to decide how you want it. They will add any ingredients you ask to it or they will serve them all on the side for you. It usually comes with a runny egg on top, but the person who ordered it chose to mayonnaise in it instead. In France, she tells us, you either pick the egg or mayo. To have both is redundant.

Finally, after all the soups have been slurped and all the steak tartarred away, the entrees were ordered and we hit the salad bar.

Salad Bar: I love a salad bar, even a bad one. This one was a pretty bad one: Crisp iceberg ( :( ) lettuce, orangey tomatoes, green peppers, vidalia onion slices, radishes, carrots, olives, beets & bacon bits made up the majority of the sad salad bar. I mean, it's fine, for like, a steakhouse in 1975. But for $8.95 a la carte, puh-lease. Don't do it. The only highlights of the salad bar were the german potato salad, coleslaw and meat salad. The german potato salad & coleslaw were sweet and good and proper. The MEAT salad was a soup of mayo & mustard with chunks of ham swimming in it. It was sweet and hammy and a proper thing to use the pumpernickel bread with.

The entrees came quickly after we ordered. What we got were mostly variations on the schnitzel. Schnitzel is a thin pounded out piece of meat (here it's veal) lightly breaded and panfried. It's usually served with vegetables and/or sauces and/or cheeses. Here's some of the varieties we ordered:

* Jaeger Schnitzelw/ homefries (with mushrooms, onion, carrot & bacon gravy)

* Paprika Schnitzel (the sauce held for exactly 60 seconds after service before breaking on my plate. Still, quite tasty. Served with Spaetzle, an extremely light and airy maggot-looking pasta. Despite it's maggoty appearance, it's actually quite delicious.

And finally the Schnitzel of the Day, something-something-black forrest ham, swiss cheese.

The veal was a little dry, the sauces were very flavorful, their accompaniments were exactly what they should have been. The biggest downside to this place is really the price. The schnitzel's were all about $21.95 which is really, really overpriced. IHAUS on Powerline in Oakland Park charges $7.95 for the same schnitzel with an appley cabbage and flavorful mashed potatoes instead of spaetzle. What you're paying for is the atmosphere and the ability to find real german beer on draft. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. I would go again, but not by my own volition. I left there happy, though. and incredibly disgustingly full.

*** (3) Not bad for what it is.

Ambry German & American on Urbanspoon


  1. We should try the Old Vienna. New Times has an article comparing it to Old Heidelberg and The Ambry. Old Vienna sounds much better than either of them.

  2. I need to start with Old Heidelberg. I haven't been back since I was 13 or so. I'm long overdue.

  3. How about a post about ROKZORBURGERZTIME