On Friday night, a couple of revelers and I checked out Loreley, a German biergarten on Rivington in the Lower East Side. The restaurant specializes in traditional German cooking and a wide variety of classic German beers, imported directly from Deutscheland. Loreley mimics the German tradition of beer gardens with its long wooden communal tables both inside and in the tented garden.
Loreley deserves high marks in terms of affordability, quality of food, and quality of beer. While not elegant, the food is immensely satisfying and hearty (and not to mention, cheap). I would recommend getting the sausage platter, to sample all of their delicious housemade sausages, as well as the German rye bread with aged Gouda. Both dishes are savory, salty, bold in flavor. The sausages are thick, hefty, and the perfect texture – absolutely bursting with flavor. The rye bread is fresh and the ideal complement to the salty Gouda cheese provided.
What is impressive about Loreley is that the food doesn’t play second fiddle to the beer – it is not just grains used to sop up the alcohol. The food serves as a complement to the beer, a difficult task considering the impressive line up of brews Loreley offers on tap and in bottles. The major Munchen breweries are lined up, Franziskaner, Hofbrau, Erdinger, Augustiner, and Weihenstephaner, as well as some smaller German producers such as Gaffel, Jever, and Einbecker. Wine, spirits, and cider are also served. Draft beers can be ordered in the normal .5L size or in the ambitious 1L mugs.
While there is little raucous drunken singing and no roaming band, Loreley transports you to Munich with its convincing replica of a beer garden (the wooden tables were made by a carpenter who builds tables for biergartens in Cologne!) and its authentic German cuisine. And while beer gardens have enjoyed a renaissance this summer, Loreley has been a beloved fixture on the Lower East Side since 2003. Loreley is unlike any traditional dining establishment in Manhattan and offers the opportunity to interact with your food, drink, and neighbors. It is an easy-going place dominated by a tangible sense of camaraderie.
Perfect for a laidback Friday night with friends, Loreley offers a truly unique dining experience and stands out in the crowded New York scene. Perhaps, give it a whirl during Oktoberfest for a particularly roaring time…