Ol’ Heidelberg

22 Dec 2010
A Bit Costly ($15-$25)
West Huntsville
4 out of 5
Ol' Heidelberg

Melanie’s Take

Sometimes eating really good food comes at a really high price. (Oddly enough, the most expensive meal I’ve ever had was one of the least tasty, but that might be more of a comment on my underdeveloped palate than the gourmet food I was served.) When I fall in love with a place that’s out of my regular eating-out price range, I love to go there for lunch. Even though I hadn’t visited Ol’ Heidelberg in a couple years, I consider it one of my favorite places in town. Because of the price, we rarely go there, but for Sunday lunch you can dine for $10 per entree.
Wiener Schnitzel
I decided to order the classic Wiener Schnitzel with warm German potato salad and cabbage slaw. While waiting for our food, our excellent waitress, who was clad in a traditional German dress, brought an assortment of warm bread with butter. The bread tasted as if it had just come out of an oven in the kitchen. I especially enjoyed the tanginess of the rye. The Wiener Schnitzel arrived and it was perfectly fried and tender. The sides were great compliments to the richness of the veal. The potato salad was slightly tart but was also rich and creamy with a little crispy bacon thrown in. Yum. At lunch, the schnitzel is $9.99. It’s so good that I would pay twice that amount, but why do that when you can save some cash for a piece of their seven layer chocolate cake? (I’ll leave the cake comments to Shane. It’s practically his holy grail of desserts.)
Aside from the absolutely delicious food, Ol’ Heidelberg also offers a pleasant atmosphere. With definite old world character and charm, Ol’ Heidelberg is the perfect place for a date if you’re tired of run-of-the-mill chain atmosphere. Although the restaurant contains quite a bit of seating, its layout still creates a cozy atmosphere. There’s a reason this place has been around for a while. Be sure to give it a whirl.

Shane’s Take

Let me get it out of the way: Ol’ Heidelberg is delicious. It is among the best restaurants in Huntsville. During our visit, I ordered one of the daily specials. I forget the name of the meal, but it consisted of a chicken breast stuffed with sausage (and some bacon, as well, I think), pan-fried, baked, and then topped with gravy. Steamed broccoli and fried potatoes were served on the side. The stuffed chicken was cooked well and tender enough to be cut through with just a fork, and the sausage inside had a nice peppery flavor. The outer crust crumbled as it should, and the gravy was a nice compliment to the chicken, which was almost dry. The fried potatoes were great—I mean, does anyone in the South not like pototoes fried with small pieces of baco?n—and the brocolli tasted great without additional seasoning. I enjoyed everything on my plate. Except for the slight dryness of the chicken, which I assume was anticipated and prompted the inclusion of gravy, everything was exceptional.
Stuffed Chicken Breast
Now, to the dessert…First, some backstory: I once worked with a lifetime bachelor who, when I worked with him, was in his early 70s. Although cranky and a bit grumpy, he was an intelligent, kind man and a walking encyclopedia. He also was a devoted restaurant connoiseur. He loved to eat out, had no fear of spending $100 for a meal or glass of wine, and had strong opinions on fine restaurants throughout the United States. At some point, he and I were discussing food, and he recommended the seven-layer chocolate cake at Ol’ Heidelberg. Little did I know, he was recommending what would become one of the best desserts I’ve ever eaten…Back to last Sunday. We ordered the seven-layer chocolate cake. That cake, wow, it is so delicious. The cake itself is moist, fluffy, and rich; the filling is smooth and strong; and the topping is a rich dark ganache. And it’s all awesomely chocolatey. Although I’m not a chocoholic, I like good straight strong chocolate flavor, and this cake delivers. It is a chocolate treasure.
Chocolate Cake
As Melanie said, it had been a couple years since we’d been to Ol’ Heidelberg. Although I remembered it tasting good and have gladly recommended it to new Huntsvillians and passers-through, I’d forgotten how great it is. Often, popular  local restaurants serve less-than-stellar food. Let the record show that Heidelberg is not one of those restaurants: they serve delicious food. If you want a great meal and have some cash to spare, give it a try. If you don’t have cash to spare, at least swing by and get a takeout box of the chocolate cake. Final thoughts:
  • Ol’ Heidelberg is pleasant and comfortable, the decor appealing, and the service excellent.
  • There is a dark dining room whose door is to your left when you enter the restaurant. If you’re in a Halloween mood or are meeting with fellow members of the Nosferatu fan club, this is the place to eat. Lots of creepy German atmo’ in there.
  • Check out the walls. There is no telling what sort of German memorabilia you’ll find hanging on them.
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4 Responses

  1. Amy Norris

    This is my favorite restaurant in all of Huntsville! In fact, its where I go every year for my birthday where I too enjoy the Wiener Schnizel with warm German potato salad and cabbage slaw, Mel. I always think I might get something else, but I just can’t resist getting the Wiener Schnizel every time. And I always top it off with their most scrumptious carrot cake. Try that next time you go. Yummy!My Mom loves the mushroom schnizel, my Dad loved the tilapia special and my Aunt said the trout she had was the best ever. Ol’ Heidelburg is the best! 🙂

  2. Mandy Staton

    I really love Ol’ Headelberg. My favorite dish there is the Chicken Berlin. It is breaded chicken breast topped with cheese, sauteed onions, and apple. I know onion and apple sounds kind of scary, but the onions take on some of the sweetness of the apples and the flavors just blend together wonderfully. The fried potatoes are also amazing and very filling. I’ve never tried their desserts. I’ve always been so stuffed I can’t even finish my meal. But one day I vow to try it, especially the chocolate cake.

  3. Erik

    Their honey pecan chicken is my favorite dish.

    If you like the Wiener schnitzel, you’ve got to try it. It’s less dry and slightly sweeter, with a honey glaze and just a hint of pecan flavor over chicken schnitzel.

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