It was time for another Dining with Dad adventure. However, I told Dad we had to do something different and he suggested we try something Middle Eastern. That sounded great with me, so I opened up my spreadsheet of places to try and found a restaurant called Tawook in Scottsdale. So, Dad and I headed up Hayden Road and milled around McCormick Parkway before finding our way into the plaza that housed Tawook.
We parked the car and walked to the restaurant only to be greeted by a large sign that said Tawook was closed until further notice. Dad and I took it in stride and decided to head back toward Arcadia and as we drove back down Hayden Road, we discussed our options. I mentioned to Dad that a new German restaurant had opened up near 48th Street and Indian School and he said that he hadn’t had German food in ages and said the new restaurant sounded fine.
As we dodged a bit of a monsoon storm, we found our way into the parking lot of the Black Forest Mill German Restaurant. They parking lot was very full and we ended up grabbing the last space on the side of the building near the dry cleaners to the east of the restaurant. Upon our entrance, we were immediately greeted by a friendly hostess who asked if we were having dinner or just grabbing a drink. Indicating our preference, we were taken through the very cavernous place, around the sizable dance floor and seated at a comfortable two-top in the back. We were handed menus and told our server would be with us momentarily.
Our server arrived a moment later and indicated that he would be with us in another minute as he had to retrieve our order. He did ask if we wanted to have some drinks and Dad and I both said we wanted water and then Dad ordered a 17 oz. glass of the Spaten Octoberfest beer ($4.50) and I joined in the merriment by getting a 17 oz. glass of the Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse beer ($4.50) with an extra lemon slice. Our server departed and we took inventory of the menu.
While we were deciding what to have to eat, a member of the staff arrived with a small basket containing pumpernickel and soft rye breads. The bread was served with a plain butter and an herbed butter. Both breads were fresh and had great flavor. The herbed butter only made them that much better and were very happy with both breads. The pumpernickel was hearty and slightly sweet and the soft rye was subtle but very delicious.
When our waiter returned, we was bearing our two beers. Dad’s Spaten Octoberfest beer was in a heavy mug and looked delicious with its frothy head and dark amber color. The beer was cold and had a slight bite to it, but was not bitter. It was very smooth on the tongue and Dad was pure smiles. “This ain’t no Budweiser!” Dad exclaimed. Indeed. I am a big fan of Hefe-Weisse beers and the tall glass of Franziskaner was perfect. Ice cold and lots of lemon from the two slices that accompanied my beer was exactly what I was looking for on a balmy summer evening. The light wheat flavor of the beer combined with the tartness of the lemon was exceptional. This wasn’t any Budweiser either.
After setting down our beers and waiting for us to take the first sips of our beer, our server took our order. To start, we decided that the Baked Brie ($7.00) sounded very good. Dad was having a tough time deciding, but I know his fondness for sausage and pork chops, so I guided him to the Schlacht Platte ($18.00) which included bratwurst, smoked pork chops, and Leberkase, a sort of German meat loaf. I was all over the Jaeger Schnitzel ($14.50).
Our server departed and Dad and I were looking over the place with its woodgrain interior, polished wood floors and touches of Alpine decoration to give it a feel of a German lodge near the Alps. The place was spotless inside and very comfortable. We were one room over from the dance floor and the live band playing all sorts of oompah-pah favorites.
Our Baked Brie arrived within minutes and the two rounds of Brie were giving off substantial heat. The two rounds had been coated in a light batter, fried and then placed in an oven for the cheese to warm and melt while the batter became more crisp. Dad and I each skewered a round with our forks and smeared the top with the cranberry chutney that was served with the cheese. I cut a small piece off with my fork and popped it into my mouth. Although still quite hot on the outside, the interior was soft and warm. The flavor was excellent. The Brie was very creamy and the cranberry chutney added a wonderful compliment to the mellowness of the cheese. Dad thought it was excellent and said he could have had another order of the Baked Brie. I agreed that it was a fantastic opener for our meal, although not the most authentically German dish I have ever had.
As we waited for our entrees, we noticed the band started up with the notorious “Chicken Dance.” People around us left their seats and hit the dance floor, strutting around and flapping their arms in sync with the music. At the various points where people clapped, it was somewhat thunderous as the dance floor was full of people stuffed with German food and beer and having a great time. I did tell Dad that if he dared to join them and bring disgrace to the Chadwick family name for 17 generations, he would get no Thai food for six months. He lowered his head in defeat and went back to his beer. “You wouldn’t say that to Madge,” Dad grumbled.
Indeed, because I value my life.
About 15 minutes passed and our entrees arrived. Dad let out a slight gasp when they set down his Schlacht Platte. It was a huge plate with a large bratwurst, a large smoked pork chop, and big slice of the Leberkase. The plate also contained roasted potatoes and a mound of sauerkraut. Along with the plate came a small covered container of mild mustard. Dad didn’t know where to start, but tackled the bratwurst first. He found it full of flavor and said it was well seasoned and very filling. He also enjoyed the mustard. He also found great things to say about the smoked pork chop noting it tasted more like a slice of ham than a traditional pork chop, but he was quite pleased with it. He also raved about the Leberkase, noting that it was dense, tender and had a great smoky flavor. The roasted potatoes were “good,” he said, but they needed a bit more seasoning. His sauerkraut was “perfect.”
My Jaeger Schnitzel was substantial with the large, sauteed pork tenderloin covered with a rich and creamy wild mushroom gravy. The pork satisfied the craving I had and the mushroom gravy enhanced the flavor of the pork without dominating it. I was pleased they didn’t overly salt the gravy. The spaetzel that was served with the schnitzel was tender and fragile, but had a wonderful buttery taste and the addition of a few herbs made the side dish shine. The sauteed vegetables were good, but I thought they needed a bit more seasoning. I was very happy with my dish and was mopping up the remnants of the gravy with the last piece of bread in the basket.
One misstep that did occur was that despite the notation in the menu that all dinners came with a side salad, ours never appeared and I didn’t notice the discrepancy until I saw the surrounding tables with the same meal selections getting a small side plate with a salad. It was a minor issue because we had plenty of food, but it was a discrepancy.
After satisfying our hunger, Dad decided to not overdo it and requested that the remaining third of his meal be packed up to take home. Our waiter was quick to oblige. He asked if we wanted to have dessert and Dad and I agreed to split an order of the Apple Strudel ($6.00). Our waiter said he would return shortly with our dessert.
Within a couple of minutes, our Apple Strudel arrived on a large square plate. The slice of strudel rested in the center of the plate and a dollop of whipped cream was in one corner and a scoop of vanilla ice cream was in the opposite corner. The ice cream also had a lite caramel sauce drizzled over it and the outskirts of the plate had some raspberry sauce. The strudel pastry top was thin and crisp and the filling was very good with plenty of apples. The bottom of the pastry, however, was in bad condition. Unfortunately, strudel doesn’t have a very long shelf life and the bottom part of the pastry seemed to have suffered. It was hard as a rock and we ended up scraping off the top and filling and enjoying that with the excellent ice cream, whipped cream and sauces. Overall, we gave the strudel a 7 only because of the problems with the bottom part, but we still liked the rest of the creation.
We requested our bill and the total was $58.91 which included tax. The service was professional and engaging and the staff was very friendly throughout the restaurant. We paid our bill and walked back around the dance floor watching the other patrons having a great time.
We also had a great time. Dad and I enjoyed our meals very much. There were only a couple of minor issues, but that didn’t put much, if any, damper on the evening. Dad said he was full and satisfied. I thoroughly enjoyed my entree and was happy there was a German restaurant near my home.
Since my visit, I have told a few people about my experience at Black Forest Mill and several people have asked how I would rate it against Haus Murphy in Glendale. I think they are comparable, although Haus Murphy has a more jovial and fun atmosphere, but Black Forest Mill had better entertainment.
I am just glad we have some good German restaurants in town.
Black Forest Mill German Restaurant
4900 East Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Dress: Lederhosen casual
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday – 11 AM to 9:30 PM; Closed Mondays.
Notes: Additional parking on the east side of the restaurant.
Alcohol: Full bar service, but grab a German beer.