Q&A With Chef Hans Huber From the Ambry German Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale

Categories: Rants
Elsewhere on this blog, the ever-erudite eating machine John Linn proclaimed the Ambry German Restaurant his very favorite place to eat German food and drink German beer. It sure is a cool-looking place (who hasn't driven past it a million times?), and it has a dizzying array of food from the old country, including some very traditional fare. Things you don't see often.

In other words, it's probably a good guess you don't make liver dumpling soup at home, prepare veal liver with apples, or combine buffalo with rabbit and deer and call it Wild Pfandel. 

But Hans Huber, owner/chef at the Ambry, knows his way around all that stuff, as he explains this week:

New Times: Hans, were you born in Germany, by any chance?

Hans Huber: Yes, I'm from Munich.

When did you start cooking?

When I was 16, I went to cook's school, but I never worked at any restaurants in Germany. I came here, and I worked as a butcher. For 12 years, I ran a deli and a butcher shop in Margate.

How long have you been at the Ambry?

The restaurant has been here for 30 years. I've been here for 19. 

What does the Ambry have going on during Oktoberfest? 

Well, we serve lots of Tucher Oktoberfest from Nuremberg. For the Oakland Park Oktoberfest (Octobter 1-2), we usually have between 7,000 and 8,000 people over those two days. I always get 110 kegs, and whatever they don't use there, I bring back to the restaurant. We also have all-you-can-eat sausage. I make my own sausage. I take the pork and the veal we don't use for schnitzel and I make the sausage by hand; I grind the meat and stuff them myself. I also make liverkasse, which is a German liver-sausage loaf.

You offer a lot of liver dishes -- do many people order them?

Yes, they do. Liver dishes are actually very popular. I use veal liver -- calves liver, veal liver, same thing.

You make both bratwurst and knockwurst -- what's the difference?

Well, bratwurst is made with pork and veal, and knockwurst is usually with beef and pork. There's also different levels of spiciness -- the bratwurst is usually spicier.

How does bratwurst you can buy in an American supermarket compare to what you'd have in Germany for dinner?

You really can't compare one to the other. But some of the bratwurst over here is not too bad. If it's from Wisconsin, it's usually not too bad. It's just different. You really can't compare them.

During Oktoberfest, do people drink more when they come to the restaurant?

Well, put it this way: They drink a lot different. You know, during the rest of the year, they might get away with drinking Miller Lite. But not during Oktoberfest. That's when they'll drink all the German beers.

In Germany, is it common to see people doing "The Chicken Dance" at Oktoberfest events?

No. They don't do that in Germany. 

Where did that get started, do you think?

Probably in the U.S. I go to Oktoberfest in Munich every year -- I haven't missed one yet. And let me tell you, I have never seen anyone do the chicken dance.

Location Info

The Ambry German & American Restaurant

3016 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL

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