OK, so I’m new here. Been here a couple of months. Never lived on Long Island, hardly ever visited. Which means that whenever people ask me to suggest a new spot to eat and I give one, I always get the same response: Yeah, we know about that. Sometimes it seems like every other person has been trodding back and forth eating on this island since the days of Paumanok.
But that is not the case. Some people are like me: new. And so, over the next several weeks, for the benefit of my fellow newbies, and for that matter, those who’ve heard about these places a million times but somehow never got around to actually visiting them, I’ll be traveling to some of the Island’s well-worn destinations, and reporting back on them here. (Suggestions welcome.) Join me as we journey to parts known, charted territory, terra cognita.
This week: Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square
Have the pretzels, everyone said, you have to have the pretzels. This Franklin Square landmark, an Epcot-size homage to Germanic culture, has been satisfying lovers of spaetzle, schnitzel, bratwurst and sauerbraten since 1939. Originally a home away from home for German immigrants, it grew to become a vast compound with acres of oompah-ness, one that comprises a restaurant, seven catering rooms and a large, handsome bar.
It is at the bar that the $10 pretzels are best enjoyed, naturally, and shortly after drawing a pint of Krombacher Pilsner — a prerequisite for any satisfying pretzel experience — the Plattduetsche bartender delivered the main event. Massive, platter-size, hot, soft and with a shiny amber finish, it wasn’t just a perfect specimen. It was the Platonic Form of a pretzel. (By the way, a reliable source tells me that they are made by Prop & Peller pretzels, a Bavarian bakery that also sells direct to consumers online.)
Two of the sauces for dipping were standard fare — warm beer cheese ($3 surcharge) and Düsseldorf mustard — but a third, dark brown and sweet, was a perfect complement to Plattduetsche’s pretzel. When hot, salt-barnacled bread met sugary sauce met faintly bitter-tasting ale, my mouth came alive in ways it rarely does.
This baseball season, even as you tear through your share of bad pretzels, don’t forget to make time for one of the best.
The beer hall at the Plattduetsche biergarten opens at 3 p.m. on Friday, and noon on Saturday and Sunday, with music every Friday evening and sometimes other nights as well (check the website). The restaurant and bar open at noon, Wednesday through Sunday.
Plattduetsche Park is 1132 Hempstead Tpke. in Franklin Square, 516-354-3131, parkrestaurant.com