Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mr. Dunderbak's, Tampa

One of the Tampa restaurants we've been visiting since soon after moving to Florida has been Mr. Dunderbak's. Thanks to a chance stop in a downpour at Epcot when the boys were small (we're talking 2 and 5 here), we found that each of them loves German food, and as a result, we try finding more places serving wursts and spaetzle. After Gameteen's first visit at the current psych practice, we visited University Mall, where Dunderbak's was a surprise find, shoehorned into a storefront.

The've long since moved into a strip mall on Bruce B. Downs that has several quality restaurants, and several storefronts that lie vacant, but Dunderbak's has always been the draw for us. We pretty much plan that if GameTeen is seeing the doctor, we're having a German meal.

Operant conditioning came into play the other day, because I had the doctor's appointment, Ed needed to drop me off on the USF campus and GameTeen was with us-all factors that scream Dunderbaks meal for us. Then I realized that I never gave a review of the place for others, despite talking it up numerous times on Facebook. This fixes that oversight.

When you walk in the door, you feel like you are in a small, German festhaus. There are two rooms that flank the entrance, the one to the right has a bar, the one to the left a large table that is perfect for a party. Behind the host stand, though, is a larger dining area with festival style bench seats and several four tops dotting the room.

Honestly the draw for us probably would be their beer, but that would mean a designated driver, and we never seem to get that one ironed out. Someday we will. Some visit for their deli counter, some for the German sweets and wines. However, the menu alone is worth the drive.
It is a large menu, full of sandwiches to please the lunch crowd (with a few non-German choices if someone in your dining group doesn't care for it) and many traditional dishes from various regions of Germany. They brew many of their own beers, as well as Root Beer. If they don't have any on tap, they do have bottled root beer, but this is irresistable:
GameTeen's go to meal here is the brats, and this time he ventured out and had Nemberg bratwurst, one pork and the other veal. I didn't try these, but the accompanying sauerkraut was fantastic.

In a rare departure for me, I went for Der Alt Red Baron, something I only order take out. It's a roast beef sandwich with tomatoes, onions and a creamy garlic spread on pumpernickel, served warm. It's a hearty sandwich, simply prepared and very filling. My plan was to have leftovers to munch on during my class break later. If you go this route, you may want to have mints if you plan on breathing on anyone!

Meanwhile, Ed went for the Sauerbraten. Unlike some German restaurants around here that relegate this dish to once a week because it takes four days to prepare, Dunderbaks has it every day. This is probably the most tender I've had it, with the meat practically melting in your mouth! I'll be honest, I was regretting getting the sandwich when I would get whiffs of Ed's meal.
The sides are not an afterthought here, they are true German originals. Their red cabbage is top notch, slightly sweet, the pierogies are delicate, the potato pancakes lovely chunks of potato, but I went for a side of their warm potato salad. Sweet, but more vinegar flavor than sweet, it's tempting to lick the bowl after finishing the contents.

It is hard not to leave stuffed, but sometimes, I will opt for leftovers to get a slice of my favorite cake, which they make the right way, Black Forest Cherry cake. They soak the layers in Kirshwasser, as it should be. The whipped cream between the layers is fresh. So decadent that I usually don't want to share, either.

If you're in the mood for something different, and you're in Tampa, go to Dunderbak's. Heck, we drive over from Lakeland often enough, because we don't have anything like it nearby. Whether you want beer or a good, authentic German meal, they're ready to make you sing along with the German tunes (and on Friday nights, the accordion player). Prosit!

Mr. Dunderbak's on Urbanspoon

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