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Dining Out: You’ll feel like dancing

NIEDERSTEIN'S

69-16 Metropolitan Ave., Middle Village

726-0717

They've started something new: monthly pre fix luncheons with dancing. There are an appetizer, choice of three entrees, dessert and coffee, plus unlimited wine, beer and soda.

The tab? A pre-paid $25 reservation.

John Weber, who performs at most local celebrations, provides the music. The music begins at 7 every Friday and Saturday night at Niederstein's. There might even be a bit of Bavarian music included.

Since dancing lessons are the rage now, and people are looking for dining and dancing options, we checked it out on a Saturday evening. We came at 7:30 and yes, the music was playing. (How often have you been told 8, and then they begin setting up and don't start 'til 9?)

The dance floor is a medium-sized square but doesn't seem to get overcrowded. The music varies from "It Had to be You" to the Latin beat. And certainly, there was an oompah number or two, complete with bells and whistles.

Niederstein's has been pleasantly freshened with new paint and carpeting throughout. It really looks young again, with sparkling stained glass, porcelain plates hung on either side, and those old-fashioned two-bladed fans in one section for nostalgia's sake. And there are white table cloths and a huge fireplace.

The menu is basically German but is sprinkled with today's hot items: Fresh mozzarella and tomatoes with prosciutto, baked clams, grilled chicken breast with pesto on a bed of ratatouille, baked stuffed shrimp with hollandaise and stir-fried shrimp.

Our dinner began with a special of smoked salmon with potato pancakes and apple sauce plus a it of green salad. This was a great combination. Even a dab of horseradish cream was included beside the rosette of salmon centering a dinner-sized plate. I'd love it for brunch anytime. And the smoked salmon goes beautifully with a potato pancake. (The dollar sized potato pancakes are also served solo as an appetizer with cranberry relish and apple sauce - isn't that a nice idea?)

My dining companion ordered herring in sour cream (I didn't think he was the type, but given the locale they are hard to resist).

One of the specials of the evening was a roast stuffed duck and that was for me. The half duckling was a glistening golden brown with a crisp skin and without the slightest sign of fat. Most of the bread stuffings I have encountered have been made with crumbs or fourth-inch cubes. This stuffing was unique with large pieces of bread, rectangular, and whole, pitted prunes (pardon me, dried plums) and halved dried figs. What a delight!

A gravy boat had been set on the table, but you know what, I was so content, I never tried it. Sorry.

I had switched from baked potato to mashed to keep in the Germanic mode. A fresh, fluted orange half adorned the plate. Similarly, I went for red cabbage, served in a side dish.

He had the roast pork medallions wrapped in bacon with peppercorn sauce and spatzel, the German noodle where the dough is placed on a board and cut into the boiling water. And he had red cabbage rather than the green beans.

Peppercorn sauce is big at Niederstein's. It also graces salmon fillets, dill flavored, and pepper steak, a tenderloin of beef, delicately sauteed and flavored with brandy.

Apple strudel was his dessert; vanilla ice cream over which I spooned hot coffee was mine. Let me applaud the coffee service. It comes in a pot with two cups for each. You can linger and dance some more.

I'm glad the dancing craze is here. It reintroduced me to

Niederstein's and all that fine autumn fare.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Newly refurbished. Dancing on Fridays and Saturdays. Monthly luncheon dancing. All the good old German favorites, well prepared. Service is excellent.

CHEF'S CHOICE

Escargot (six snails)...$7

Fried Brie with Almond Crust...$6.50

Jaeger Schnitzel (sauteed veal cut

let in a mixed wild mushroom

sauce)...$16.50

Sauerbraten (beef marinated in

red vinegar wine and served in its

own flavorful sweet and sour gravy

with potato dumplings and red

cabbage)...$15.50

Roast Loin of Pork ...$10.50

Black Forest Cake...$3.50

Apple Strude1...$4

Food: German favorites. A few

contemporary American dishes

Setting: Stained glass

Service: Excellent

Reservations: Yes

Parking: Three lots

Location: Metropolitan Avenue

and 69th Street

Dress: Upper casual

Credit cards: All major

Children: Own menu

Takeout: Yes

Catering-off premise: No

Private rooms: Two

Smoking: Bar and side room

Noise level: Low to moderate

Dancing: Fri.-Sat. and monthly

luncheon dance

Handicapped accessible: Yes

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