Restaurant Review: Gunk Haus

A recently opened German restaurant offers craft beers, stick-to-the-ribs Bavarian favorites — and dramatic mountain views


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curry wurstHail and hearty: Gunk Haus’ curry wurst gets its special kick from house-made catsup and curried sauerkraut

We kicked off with pretzel and obatzda, a tangy, creamy cheese blend of Camembert, Gorgonzola, and Mother’s Milk beer, spiced with sumac, dry mustard, and smoked paprika. It spread nicely on chewy, house-made pretzel bread.

A roast pork loin sandwich, made with local, pasture-raised pork, was tasty. It came on a pretzel roll, dressed up with braised leeks, Gorgonzola, and spicy mustard, with crisp mesclun greens in a sherry vinaigrette on the side.

Two glistening, plump bratwursts (fresh from Highland’s artisanal butcher, Mark Elia) were good if somewhat outshone by their accompaniments: terrific sweet-and-sour green beans flavored with crispy scallions, ginger, garlic, sriracha, and balsamic vinegar — a side trip to Asia — and hearty, cheesy potatoes gratin, which brought the dish back to the West again. My curry wurst was good, too — a toothsome smoked beef sausage topped with a catsup of curry powder, tamarind, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, mustard, cumin, cardamom, and sumac that added up to a more complex take on the fast-food version you find in Germany.

gunk house exteriorThe exterior of the restaurant, which offers views of Mohonk Preserve and the Catskills (on a clear day)

The vegetable strudel of the day was an enjoyable surprise: an inventive mix of buttercup squash, local corn, glazed walnuts, preserved lemons, habanero peppers, and goat cheese which came wrapped in a flaky pastry parcel and made for a savory, meatless treat. The couple at the next table were mmm-ing over their salmon croquettes — they were working their way through the menu, they told us, and could vouch for the burgers, too.

For dessert, chocoholics can revel in a chocolate cake with chocolate hazelnut ice cream and chocolate sauce aptly named Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate. We loved our generous serving of fresh apfelstrudel, but were less knocked out by the chocolate-filled pretzel bites called schatzies — an invention of Steckel’s that many find addictive. I like the sound of a holiday dessert that she’s planning: a chocolate-glazed ginger cake served with a reduction of spiced wine.

Overall, this is a casual, fun spot where the beers are good, the eats are hearty, and the tabs are light. And the only Gunk is that lovely ridge in the distance.

Gunk Haus
Open daily except Tuesday for lunch and dinner. Sandwiches and entrées range from $8-$18; desserts from $3-$6.
387 South St., Highland. 845-883-0866

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