Having lived for some years in Munich, the start of October to me means Oktoberfest.
While I was never keen on the mob scene in the giant Hofbräu-Festzelt beer tent, I sure do miss the bratwursts, the leberkäse, the sauerkraut, and of course the German pastries.
So what better time of the year to get an authentic German food fix by driving north on A1A to Café Coconut Cove in Melbourne Beach.
While the owners of this restaurant are not Bavarian, the cuisine inside is prepared by a German restaurant family that came here a quarter century ago from Aachen.
In this attractive hide-away on the Indian River lagoon, the menu is definitely Deutsche.
Last Saturday, we arrived shortly after 7 p.m. to a full restaurant that had just one table available. This place seems to be gaining more fans with each passing year.
For starters, we ordered the German potato pancake appetizer ($7.50), small, golden brown and crispy potato pancakes, served with sour cream or an apple cranberry compote. Yummy.
Then we proceeded to the small but excellent German mixed salads which are included with each meal.
It’s with the entrées that the decision-making here gets really tough. Café Coconut Cove offers a choice of a half dozen schnitzels including, in deference to Florida, a grouper schnitzel; a half dozen wurst plates, including one featuring rouladen; a half dozen grill plates; and even a couple of dishes for vegetarians.
On this evening, I ordered the roasted pork shank ($24), my husband opted for the peppercorn schnitzel ($25), and our companion chose the bratwurst plate ($17).
My pork shank, slow roasted with tomato, onion, garlic and seasonings, was juicy and fork-tender. It was served with red cabbage – a very successful dish. My husband’s lightly breaded veal cutlet was basically a Wiener schnitzel topped with a creamy cracked peppercorn sauce.
Both dishes were excellent, but for a German food fix, you’ve really got to go with the wursts. Our companion’s bratwurst plate consisted of two pork and beef brats, perfectly cooked, and served with sauerkraut. The word that comes to mind is wunderbar!
All of the dishes came with a potato puff and a vegetable, in this case sugar snap peas.
For desserts, the classic German choices were a homemade Black Forest cake and homemade apple strudel topped with vanilla ice cream. On this visit, we went with the Black Forest cake ($7). Sinful!
To accompany your meal, Café Coconut Cove offers a very reasonably priced wine list (including several Rieslings and one German pinot noir) as well as Warsteiner Pils, a German premium beer.
Dinner for two at Café Coconut Cove, together with a nice bottle of wine, comes in for well under $100 including tip.
Café Coconut Cove also has a handful of outdoor tables, right on the Indian River. On an evening when there is a breeze, the outdoor tables provide a perfect setting for a predinner sunset drink while waiting for a table.
The combination of the riverside setting, the old-world European charm you find inside the restaurant and the good German food are hard to beat. But if you have never been there, I want to alert you to the fact that the restaurant, which sits back down a lane from A1A, is a bit hard to find. The Café Coconut Cove sign on A1A is easy to miss.
Your best bet is to note the mileage as you cross the A1A bridge over the Sebastian Inlet. When you have gone 11 miles from the top of the bridge, you are about there.
I welcome your comments, and encourage you to send feedback to me at email@example.com.
The reviewer is a beachside resident who dines anonymously at restaurants at the expense of Vero Beach 32963.