Prepare for October at Hallo Berlin Express
With October just one week away, it’s only natural to start craving a little bratwurst with German potatoes, and sauerkraut. And for those of us in Midtown, there’s only one place to go for that… the Babiel Brothers’ famous Hallo Berlin Cart on 54th and 5th Ave. But what if you want beer with that brat? Or spaetzle? Or potato pancakes? For that, you’ll have to head a bit out of bounds to Hallo Berlin Express- the small brick and mortar version of the cart located on 9th Ave. btw. 50+51st.
It’s been open for almost a year and half now, but yesterday I had lunch there for the very first time.
The “Express” location lives somewhere between the cart and the Hallo Berlin Beer Garden on 10th Ave. btw. 43+44th. It’s not a sit down restaurant, but there are tables and chairs for you to eat with your food- and, unlike the cart, they have beer. Behind the counter where you order, there is a set up identical to the one on the cart for cooking sausages, sauerkraut and potatoes. Everything else gets cooked in the back.
I prefer the paper containers you get at the cart, but if you eat in at the Express location they give you your food in real dishes. Other than the plate though, the double soul food mix ($8) is practically identical to what you get at the cart. (Yes, there is bratwurst and a knockfrank under all that mess.)
The peirogis are probably one of the best deals on the menu. For $4.50 you get 6 fairly large pan fried pockets of deliciousness, half of them potato filled half meat filled. Could have used some sour cream (although maybe that’s more of a Polish thing?) and you have to ignore the pool of oil at the bottom of the plate- but tasty nonetheless.
I enjoyed the spaetzle too, but it tasted a little more like boxed spaghetti than something homemade. (Almost like the top ramen of spaetzle.)
If you prefer your potatoes cold and in salad form (as opposed to the hot home fries you normally get from the cart) their potato salad is dill-tastic.
Still have to try the potato pancakes, schnitzel, and maybe even some pickled herring. It’s not going to replace the cart (which is the only place you’re guaranteed to get at least one of the Babiel brothers making your lunch), but makes for some good sit down Octoberfest lunching.
Hallo Berlin Express, 744 9th Ave (btw. 50+51st) 212-333-2372