Most weeks on Berks County Eats, you’ll read about the culinary adventures of my wife (Julie) and I. But from time-to-time, other family members and friends will make cameo appearances, depending on the occasion and location.
Recently, I got together with my brother Matt, his wife Lauren and my friend Dennis for a night out in the Hamburg area.
We made the short drive west of town along Old Route 22 to the Indian Fort Inn.
Dennis and I had never visited before, but my brother and Lauren had been there often as my brother shot pool in the bar room regularly.
In just a few years, he said, the restaurant had been greatly improved. The food had always been good, but the dining room was always empty while everyone was in the bar.
Outside, it looks like a large stone house with a giant parking lot. There’s a patio out front that looked jam-packed during our visit. Inside, the wood walls, wooden tables and chairs, and dim lighting give the feel of an upgraded hunting cabin.
The meal did not start out well. First, they were out of the meal I really wanted to try: the German lasagna (which was made up of kielbasa, sauerkraut and other German favorites in a mushroom cream sauce).
Then, the salad was a swing-and-a-miss. I was the only person at the table to order an entree and the only person to get a starter salad.
It arrived quick enough, but without the salad dressing. Our waiter disappeared into the back before I realized the mistake so I had wait patiently for him to return to the dining room to wait on our neighboring table to flag him down, then wait for him to reemerge with my cup of ranch dressing. He may or may not have brought me blue cheese instead.
Otherwise, the salad was unremarkable, standard greens with cherry tomatoes and croutons.
I was already in a slightly sour mood because I couldn’t try the German lasagna; this wasn’t helping things. For my entree, I settled on the Jagerschntizel.
Lucky for me, it redeemed the meal.
The jagerschnitzel was a weekend special and included two deep fried pork cutlets smothered in mushroom gravy.
It was excellent. The cutlets were fried to a perfect golden brown that peeked out ever so slightly from beneath the mushroom cream sauce. The breading was fantastic and amplified the flavor of the pork. The cream sauce was very good as well, making the dish go down easily.
On the side were “Saratoga chips” and mixed vegetables. Real Saratoga chips are basically potato chips served warm (think Dutch fries, for anyone who visits the Kutztown Fairgrounds), but these were thick cut potato cubes, deep-fried and salted. I have zero complaints about them, but they weren’t anything noteworthy.
To my right, Dennis was enjoying his bacon and bleu cheese burger. It was topped with a roasted red pepper aioli that he thought played well with the bleu cheese crumble. Overall, he found it to be a very good burger.
To my left, my brother was digging into to a chicken sandwich with melted cheddar and bacon. Instead of a sliced cheddar, it was a blend of shredded cheddar. It was a good sandwich, but I know my brother’s favorite thing on his plate was the coleslaw (and I would have to agree, it was a well-made slaw, though I would have a hard time picking out exactly what made it better than most).
While my Saratoga chips were okay, the French fries were exceptional. Both Dennis and Matt ordered a side of fries with their sandwiches. The side of fries was a full basket, one that Julie and I would have needed to split had we been out for a dinner-for-two.
The fries were the fresh-cut style with skins still on the edges, and they were cooked perfectly. I got to try one or two of my brother’s fries. Otherwise, he took down the whole basket himself (Dennis left just a few in the bottom of his).
Lauren ordered a plate of loaded fries and made it her meal. It was your typical baked potato toppings – bacon, sour cream, chives. Her plate was even larger so she couldn’t finish all of hers, but she did enjoy them.
Our server was kind enough to split the checks for us. I spent about $16 for my meal and glass of iced tea. Most of the dinners were around the same price with some of the steak offerings reaching the low-to-mid-$20 range.
It was a good meal made better by good friends and conversation. And The Fort just seemed like the right place for that.
Indian Fort Inn
1343 Hex Highway
Hamburg, PA 19526