Otto's Serves Up Comfort Foods With German Flair
Just in time for summer, the Horsham eatery features outdoor tables under a covered patio.
Indeed, it was founded in 1934, more than 75 years ago!
Though it changed ownership only a few years ago, the new owners were smart enough to make this change invisible. The menu, the chefs, the longtime hostess, the serving staff, and the restaurant’s interior are largely intact, thereby holding on to Otto’s large, longtime following.
Otto's offers four dining areas to choose from: a light airy room with big bay windows, a darker central dining room, a cozy atmospheric bar decorated with hanging moose heads and shelves of beer steins, and an unusually large canopy-covered and tree-shaded outside patio great for al fresco dining this time of year.
Large portions of stick-to-your-ribs foods, many served with rich gravies, best washed down by a sudsy, cold German beer. At Otto’s Brauhaus, no less than 15 German brews are on tap, and 20 more German brands are available in bottles, including 4 varieties of rare Ayinger’s, plus a few popular domestics.
German cuisine is decidedly meat-centric, favoring beef, veal, and pork tenders, steaks and chops, or ground and stuffed with spices, and who knows what, into sausages (wurst). But you don’t have to have German food. The menu offers lots of standard American dishes, including seafoods, sandwiches, and salads.
At dinner, entrées run $14 to $25. (At lunchtime, many of these same plates are only $9 to $13.) The tab for our dinner for two, with appetizer and soup, including two beers, was $52.
Also, Otto’s is widely known for its great breakfasts, its three-egg omelets among the most original and best in the ‘burbs.
A bowl of snapper soup was rich, thick, and meaty with good flavor enhanced by a few drops of sherry.
My companion’s bratwurst – two large veal sausages – was tender, mild, and savory. The side dishes of classic German potato salad and creamed spinach were on target for this cuisine.
A day’s special, the German Trio, overflowed the plate, and allowed me to taste chicken Jaeger, “leberkase” (veal loaf), and orange glazed overcooked ham steak, with G.P.S. and red cabbage. I recommend any dish named Jaeger-something, e.g. the Jaeger Schnitzel (veal), whose sauce – a mushroom, bacon, and onion gravy with a splash of white wine and cream – is superb.
The servers are young, and not so young in their traditional St. Pauli Girl low-cut bodice outfits.
At one previous early evening visit, we sat inside. Promptly at 6 p.m., the overhead speakers began blaring stereotypical, Old World German oompah band music. Thankfully, at our request, the overly high decibel music was turned way down, and our conversation could resume.
A week ago, we took advantage of the perfect late June weather, choosing a table on the outside patio under the canopy. The setting sun provided a warm glow. That night the inside dining rooms were almost empty, as so many chose the patio too.
Of course, I ordered a bottle of St. Pauli Girl beer and a chilled glass, while my lovely dining companion had a Miller Lite. We shared a dozen steamed clams in a buttery clam broth, and also a bowl of snapper soup, both very appetizing starters.
I was attracted to the photo at the top of the German specialties menu page of the loin of pork platter with spaetzle (German-style noodles) and red cabbage ($15.95). The platter was exactly like the photo. I really liked the spaetzle, though the thick slices of pork loin were a bit more well done for me.
My companion picked an amazing salad topped with four delicious lamb chops ($10.95) as her main course, and really loved it. She was able to substitute mozzarella for goat cheese. For dessert we had the homemade bread pudding topped with whipped cream. It was just “ok" according to my bread pudding-loving companion.
Location: 233 Easton Road (Route 611), Horsham
Hours: Breakfast, lunch, dinner daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Dinner prices: appetizers $6.99 - $9; entrées, $14.99 - $29.99,
Ambiance: An old world classic feel.
Reservations: Suggested weekends.
Credit Cards: All major accepted
Alcoholic beverages: Full bar, great beer selection
Wheelchair access: Yes
Overall Rating: mmm (out of 5 m’s) for good belly-filling German and American dishes, and its large outside patio in summer.
To contact Mitch Davis, you can e-mail him.