Ray of sunshine in the Black Forest

May 20, 1996

By Kurt Epps

The words "beer" and "Germany" go together pretty naturally. So a Restaurant and Pub with the name of Black Forest seems to be an open invitation to sample some traditional liquid and solid European fare within. Located on the third floor of Atlantic City's Ocean One Pier, this intimate little pub and restaurant offers quite a bit to the AC visitor who needs to escape the chink and clank of the slot machines for a well-deserved rest from the rigors of Atlantic City's pastime - throwing money away.

Located just opposite Caesar's Palace, Ocean One is a mall replete with standard Mall-type stores and complete with eateries. From pizza to croissants to the specialized dining of the Black Forest and three other specialty restaurants on the third floor, the facility provides something for everyone.

The Black Forest, however, provides something special. Rick, the manager, was especially helpful in providing information about the Black Forest's move to a more diverse brew menu. With nine beers on tap and a plethora in bottles, the Black Forest is taking full advantage of the public's changing tastes in malted beverage.

Of course, the Black Forest, with its premier location on the pier offers a superb view of the famed boardwalk and the multimillion dollar structures which crowd its edges. It also offers an interesting perspective because it actually juts out onto the water, almost giving the illusion of being at sea. Interestingly, the smoking section gets the window seats, perhaps as compensation for being ostracized by society. (The smart money says the owner is a smoker.)

The food is German/European and quite good. The Bratwurst sandwich, which came with a load of fries and other goodies was well worth the price of $4.95, cheap by Atlantic City standards. Two pieces of bratwurst would have made the sandwich more filling, but in retrospect would have probably negated a second brew. For hearty eaters--and drinkers-- there's a cornucopia of Schnitzel dishes--including Schnitzel parmigiana and Schnitzel cordon bleu (!) and the best wurst platter you'll find this side of Deutschland. The pub also offers a complete selection of burgers and thick deli sandwiches, and an impressive array of basic American fare from butterfly shrimp to hot turkey and roast beef sandwiches. And there isn't a dish that doesn't complement one or more of the brews the Black Forest has at the ready.

Since brews are what this mag is all about, sample the brewfare from a menu in constant flux and nine taps that do likewise. Germany, as expected, led the UN list of bottled beer offerings, touting Dinkelacker Light and dark, Hacker-Pschorr light and dark and the classic Hacker-Pschorr Weiss in a 17 oz. bottle. Hofbrau Oktoberfest and three from Wurzburger, a light, a dark and a weisse, accompanied Beck's and St. Pauli Girl. England had a proud contingent on hand in Old Peculiar, Sam Smith Pale, Bass, John Courage, Whitbread and the absolutely incredible RamRod from Young's. Scotland was represented by Newcastle Brown, Belhaven (delightful) and McEwan's. Ireland's Guiness and Harp and Canada's Molson, Moosehead and Labatt's rounded out the UK's representation.

The Colonies earned a bit of Hessian respect once again by making available Dock Street, SA and Anchor Steam, although after George Washington, Sam Adams is probably the last name a Hessian wants to hear. The Pacific Rim checked in with China's Tsing Tao and Japan's Kirin, Asahi Dry and Sapporo. Of course, Foster's stood tall from the land down under and two of Holland's better brews--Grolsch and Brand continue to hold their own in the Zeider Zee of global brewfoam. An interesting offering from Italy was Peroni, surprising because the bottle's neck, contrary to expectations, was perfectly straight. Somebody should tell the Peroni folks about that weird disease before the fear factor sets in.

While the food prices were exceptionally reasonable, the brew prices will not make any headlines soon. Only Bud, Miller and Rolling Rock were under three bucks. Most were in the $3.50 range, and some pushed the five buck barrier, with at least one breaking it. But keeping in mind that this is Atlantic City, where one egg delivered to your room can cost $8, they weren't outrageous.

Mugs of draft beer, which included Brewery Hill Black and Tan, Brewery Hill Raspberry Wheat and Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest were all under the three buck mark. Others at the tap were Foster's, Heineken and Coors Light. Hofbrau Liter Mugs were a bit pricier at over five beans, but you could blow that in quarters a lot faster elsewhere in AC and have little to remember about the experience. The memory of a superb brew and the meals that the Black Forest can provide are a far better bang for most brew geeks' bucks.

The Black Forest is a needed and welcome respite from the frenetic, frenzied, expensive pace of AC, especially if you can get a window seat and a clear evening. And even if you can't, it's comforting to know that there's at least one pub in Atlantic City that won't take you to the cleaners after you've taken a bath at the casinos.

Black Forest Pub and Restaurant
One Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic City, NJ 08401

®Kurt E. Epps 1996 All Rights Reserved

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Kurt Epps