If the maiden voyage of Foodie Trivia taught me anything, it’s that there is a lot I don’t know about food. It’s incredibly easy to feign a knowledge of French or Italian. My knowledge of German cuisine? Zilch. As a baking aficionado, I do know that Germany has a renowned baking culture, rich with dark and hearty breads.
Newly opened Landbrot marries the best of two worlds as being both a bakery and a bar. I was most excited about the bakery aspect – here was my opportunity to learn about German breads! It’s an awful tease following bakers like Malin Emlid who discuss and show pictures of gorgeous European breads that are completely foreign to me in both taste and location.
When I arrived at Landbrot’s on opening night, I did what any normal person would do – I looked for the most exciting loaf, pointed and unceremoniously asked, What is that? Bread, was the answer. It took a bit more prodding to find out exactly what type of bread and, to be honest, I’m still not sure what it’s called.
I know it’s whole wheat. I know it’s got toasted pumpkin seeds on top (unless those were actually sunflower seeds, in which case, I know nothing). I know the breads are baked in three ovens shipped from Germany. And I know it’s made using a natural yeast, which is a huge plus in my book. It was a bit temperamental in the toaster the next morning, and while I won’t admit to burning a slice or two, I will say it was unlike any bread I’ve tried before. The flavor was earthy and a bit nutty, and the crust was wonderfully crisp. Yeah, I liked it.
Landbrot’s has a small bar area where I sat that first night and sampled my way through a good deal of their wine list. Turns out, I’m actually okay with German wines! Of course, then I was offered the Beaujolais and it was back to square one again. We’ll get there.
There are four different types of German beers on tap (naturally!), my favorite of which is the Höss Neuschwansteiner. I’ve had it twice now, and I still can’t pronounce it properly. That one! and POINT. Landbrot also sells their beer by the Growler, which means you can follow my beer selection technique and take it home with you.
Onto the food. I’m totally prepared for the “that’s what she said” return on this one, but yes, I do love sausage. A portion of Landbrot’s menu is dedicated to the beloved German brat, which I can already tell will be the driving power for many of my late night visits. During one particular visit, a friend and I sat at a window-side table and split the Farmer’s brat and Andouille sausage, the former being flavored with herbs and the latter being on the spicier side. Each brat came accompanied by sauerkraut, fresh horseradish, German mustard and a plum ketchup. The brat was served on a toasted light bread roll that was absolutely dreamy. Let’s remember this is a bakery, people. I usually end up tossing out half the hot dog bun (it’s just a sideshow act anyway), but here, I dipped those leftover bits in mustard and loved them to until the very end. I don’t know a thing about cooking brats, but in my humble opinion, they were perfectly cooked – the skin snapped at first bite and the flavors were amazing. I favored the Farmer’s brat, but hey, Mommy loves everyone equally.
Landbrot is quickly smoothing out the kinks as it approaches its one month anniversary and prepares to open up a second location in the Lower East Side. They have added seating in the main dining room (there’s also a smaller second floor dining area), which will surely be handy when people realize what a wonderful addition this is to the neighborhood. I cannot wait to go back and try the warm apple strudel. And the shnitzel. And the Berliners (jelly-filled donuts). And….
Landbrot Bakery and Bar is located at 137 Seventh Avenue South. Their website was still under construction when I hit “publish”, but to tide you over with more information and pictures of their glorious baked goods, visit them on Facebook here. Or just visit them.