122 Union St.
718-855-2879, free delivery
Schnäck is the home of Mini Burgers ($1) and hot dogs, beer shakes, and Schnäck sauce. Calling it German is questionable, but they are sporting an umlaut over that a, which is good enough for me (have I mentioned my love of mini burgers?).
Whether you call them schnäckies, mini burgers, or sliders, they are addictive little things, and the presence of cheese (50¢) only ups the punch. The beauty of eating at Schnäck is opening a tab and progressively making your way through whatever quantity of mini burgers you can stomach. The danger and annoyance of ordering is having to predict your quota in advance — if you underestimate, you’re jonesing, if you overestimate, don’t even think about eating them tomorrow, because they won’t survive reheating. Fries ($2.75) and Onion Rings ($2.75) are a distraction from the menu’s core, and not worth the stomach space. Ditto on the Chocolate Shake ($3.25), though the Swojska Sausage ($3.50), “the best” says the menu, does rank in my top three dogs, especially when heaping with kraut.
The one thing about Schnäck that has recently changed is the prices. The owners, like the fast food drug dealers they are, know that once you’re hooked, there’s no turning back.
26 E. 17th St.
In general, I limit my intake of German cuisine to pilsner and hefeweizen, but a search for more substantial fare led me to Mandler’s — the only German-inspired restaurant within delivery range.
I expected Mandler’s Mix ($6.25) — a hero sandwich of Bratwurst, Krainerwurst, Chicken Bratwurst, and Knockwurst topped with peppers, mushrooms and onions — to be a lederhosen-stretching smorgasbord. Instead, I got a pepper and onion sandwich garnished with puny, indistinguishable slices of sausage on a “fresh baked” stale-tasting roll. An order of Zucchini Fries ($2.75) reminded me why potatoes are a staple, and zucchini is not, but the Corn Fries ($2.75) were intellectually — if not gastronomically—satisfying. How do you fry creamed corn? Why would you want to?
Worried that I had written off Mandler’s too soon, I stopped by with a holiday-shopper’s appetite for a Knockwurst sandwich ($4.95). As promised, the sausage approached the promised nine inches, and the spicy sauce set my mouth on fire, but the meat (supposedly smoked beef and pork) was nondescript.
Next time I’m hankering for a German specialty, I’ll place my order with Fresh Direct. For $32, they’ll bring a case of Beck’s to your door.