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The Wine Cellar

199 East Oakland Park Boulevard
Oakland Park, FL 33334-1153
(954) 565-9021

 

 

A map of 199 E Oakland Park Blvd, Oakland Park, FL 33334-1153. Click to see the map on MSN Maps & Directions
 
Madame @ The Wine Cellar
Photos of the Internationally Famous Electra at The Wine Cellar in Fort Lauderdale Florida
 
View Wine Cellar Restaurant Photos
Electra at The Wine Cellar 
 
 
 
 

The Wine Cellar Has Closed

 

Steeped in European old-world charm, the Wine Cellar Restaurant glows with dark woods, gentle lighting and a glass-enclosed aviary, filled with softly chirping birds.  Originally this Hungarian and German Rathskeller-style favorite, founded in 1976 by German native Achim Samtlebe, had only ten tables, but its popularity soon outgrew the small space.  So in 1984, the Wine Cellar expanded and relocated to East Oakland Park Blvd. 

 
Traditional Favorites Delight - At Home in the Wine Cellar
 
-Reviewed by Tim Slivinski
Current food trends suggest that diners are moving to fresher, farm quality ingredients. Organic is a new buzz word to entice people to healthier eating habits. Styles of cuisine are in one month and then quickly out again the next. Keeping up with it all can be enough to make you dizzy. Sometimes we just want those traditional, homey comfort foods that we grew up with that remind of us of traditional Sunday dinner with the grandparents.

Thank goodness for restaurants like the Wine Cellar. It will take you back to those days long ago when we just enjoyed the deliciousness of the traditional foods of our childhoods. And if you are of Eastern or Central European background, then the menu items at the Wine Cellar are sure to get you talking about those suppers that mom or grandma used to cook with love and affection. Speaking of which, the restaurant’s dining room is cozy and inviting, just like grandma’s table.

After being seated I was greeted with a complimentary potato pancake, or latke, with applesauce and sour cream accompaniment. I already knew from the start I would enjoy this place. The pancake was crisp on the outside, warm and moist on the inside. Perfection! I could have made a dinner of an entire plate of this traditional delicacy.

Next, our server suggested that I try the Wine Cellar’s celebrated escargot. Full disclosure here: I am not generally an escargot fan, but I was persuaded. I was treated to a wonderful, aromatic, and generous, crock of snails and mushrooms in a sinful garlic butter sauce. Could this really be escargot? It was, and I loved it. It’s easy to understand why it is a featured item.

Being a chilly evening, I opted for soup over salad as it sounded just right after braving the breezy, brisk outdoors. The lobster bisque was a more than ample portion of creamy deliciousness, tasting rich and yet not overly thick or cloying as some bisques can be. I am ashamed to admit that I gladly consumed every spoonful.

Next was the real challenge—deciding upon an entrée. I always have a difficult time saying no to Wienerschnitzel when it’s on the menu; it’s a traditional favorite that I sometimes crave—but not tonight. Instead, I was encouraged to try the Rahmschnitzel once my gracious server discovered I love mushrooms. Once it was served, I knew that I had been steered in the right direction. Two fork-tender cutlets were topped in a white wine cream sauce with hearty chunks of portabella mushrooms, not the overly sliced and diced variety.

Each entrée comes with a choice of two accompaniments. I opted for traditional German spaetzle and sweet and sour red cabbage. The cabbage was just spicy enough to offer great contrast to the cutlet. The spaetzle, small traditional German dumplings, were perfect with the sauce that was served with the schnitzel. This was a plate that would make any Mom or grandmother smile. Traditional cuisine done as it should be: flavorful, filling, and homey.

As I was dining I also had the opportunity to taste one of the featured items that night: a roasted pork shank. This was truly an entrée to be admired as well as consumed. Beautifully browned, the meat was fall off the bone tender. It had all the aroma and flavors that filled the house on Sunday afternoons. If it’s on the menu, order it as it is a satisfying and beautiful preparation.

Quite honestly, I was stuffed, but I did have the opportunity to sample two of the Wine Cellar’s homemade desserts. The Apple Strudel took me back to my childhood. Flaky pastry, tender apples, notes of cinnamon— it was everything strudel should be. The German chocolate cake was another winner. Moist and flavorful with a frosting neither too heavy nor too light, it is easily enough to share.

A bonus feature with dinner on Friday nights at 7:00 p.m. is a performance by the wonderful Electra. She vamps around the dining room in her inimitable style that is guaranteed to make you laugh. But be careful as she just might pull you and your entire table into the act, which, of course, is part of the fun. Electra sets the tone for a fun night out, and isn’t that one of the main reasons we go out?

 

LGBT Visitors Guide:

 

“The Wine Cellar features classic continental style dishes in a relaxed german-themed restaurant.  Your dollar goes a long way here, and you’ll receive excellent food at reasonable prices.  Reservations are recommended especially for the daily special dishes.”