If a frosty glass of imported German beer, potato pancakes, or schnitzel with a side of spaetzle sounds good, take yourself over to Arthur and Dale Stoerchle’s Black Forest Mill in the Green Tree Shopping Center on Immokalee Road in Naples.
No strangers to the restaurant business, the Stoerchles owned the sizeable Black Forest Mill Restaurant in Highland Mills, N.Y., for 32 years before coming to Naples. Their miniature storefront version here consists of about 11 simple wood tables, wainscoted walls decorated with carved cuckoo clocks, decorative plate holders and old-world etchings, and traditional lace-curtained windows. Arthur is the sole cook, and Dale bustles about with a small, attentive wait staff. If, like us, you arrive without a reservation, you’ll likely have to wait.
To kick off our culinary tour of Deutschland, my husband chose the smooth, full-bodied Erdinger Hefe- Weizen (Dunkel) dark malt beer ($6.95). I selected and enjoyed the sweetest reisling of the three listed in the dozen premium German wine selections: the Piesporter Michelsberg Riesling Qba ($7.50).
The dinners at Black Forest Mill include small appetizers of complimentary tangy coleslaw and German potato salad (both delicious, with not a hint of Americanization at the hands of mayonnaise), followed by soup or salad. The soup was passable, but the salad had a wonderful fresh flavor with a nice, sweet-vinegar dressing.
We also ordered two additional appetizers: the savory homemade potato pancakes with applesauce ($7.95), which were scrumptious—crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside; and a lovely little mound of chicken liver pâté ($4.95), which was delightfully light and delicately seasoned.
Our selected entrees were traditional German comfort foods, which complemented the cooler weather. My husband’s stuffed cabbage ($18.95) was filled with a mildly flavored beef and pork mixture, topped with classic brown mushroom gravy and accompanied by a potato dumpling (which hit the sweet spot between substantial and heavy) and sweet and sour red cabbage.
I chose the jaeger schnitzel (panfried pounded veal cutlet with a cream mushroom gravy, $27.95) accompanied by spaetzle (hand-made German noodles that were slightly crisped in the pan) and creamed spinach. I really didn’t detect any cream in the gravy, but it was good, classic brown gravy, although with a meager amount of mushrooms. We both wanted a little more gravy and mushrooms with our entrees and Shane, our waiter, quickly obliged.
The dessert selections (included with dinner) were Black Forest cake (which they were out of), apple cake, ice cream, apple strudel and carrot cake. We shared both the apple strudel—sweet and tasty, although we would have liked the crust browned a little more—and the carrot cake—which was moist and delicious with a rich, smooth cream cheese frosting.
Black Forest Mill is definitely authentic German cuisine, served up with a side of friendliness and family pride. No frills, to be sure, but simple, satisfying comfort food.
Apple strudel with vanilla ice cream.
Black Forest Mill
2366 Immokalee Road, Naples; (239) 592-4784.
Open for dinner, Tuesday through Thursday, 4-9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4:30-9:30 p.m.
Wheelchair accessible. Accepts reservations.