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The Bavarian Inn

May 16, 2004

By E.T. MOORE

The Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, W.Va. comes with a reputation. It holds a four-diamond rating from AAA and has been reviewed by numerous publications.

One recent evening, we added The Herald-Mail to the list of reviewers.

There are many positives about dining at The Bavarian Inn. The inn has atmosphere galore, good service, some excellent menu items. There is enough variety in the menu and price range that you don't have to wait for a special occasion to go there.

You can spend as little as $13.50 for an entree of traditional German sausages with sauerkraut and whipped potatoes or as much as $48 for Chateaubriand for two - a meal for two of tenderloin of beef, duchess potato, grilled tomato and fresh garden vegetables with sauce Bernaise.

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The building that houses the inn was originally built in 1930 as a private residence. Nestled in the trees at the edge of Shepherdstown and overlooking the Potomac River, the inn was once known as the Greystone Mansion, earning its name, perhaps, from the large gray stones that make up its outer walls.

It was converted to a country inn in 1977.

In any of the four public dining rooms at The Bavarian Inn, there is a warm, cozy and still elegant atmosphere. Carefully decorated in muted tones, the outdoor views from the many windows and the rough stone of the original building are the dominant features.

You are greeted quickly at The Bavarian Inn and taken to your table. Just as quickly, someone fills the water glasses and brings bread to the table. Menus and a wine list are produced. Service slowed down a bit as the dining room around us became busier. What I missed at this restaurant was a little help in our meal selection. The menu is heavy with German and Austrian dishes, many of which I have never sampled.

When we asked the waiter how to pronounce some of the menu items, he didn't know and hadn't sampled any of them, so he couldn't make recommendations.

Luckily, the menu does include descriptions of the dishes. Using those, my dining companion and I settled on Gereucerte Fisch Platte - which our waiter called the fish plate - as our appetizer. A selection of smoked trout, salmon and scallops with dill and horseradish cream sauce, the appetizer was excellent. The cost for one, which we shared, was $8.95.

I chose the Wiener Schnitzel for an entree, served with red cabbage and spaetzle. Wiener schnitzel is a veal steak dipped in egg batter and bread crumbs and pan-fried. It was, well, bland.

Veal is meat from a young calf that is un-weaned or recently weaned. The meat is very lean and tender but lacks the rich flavor of beef. With no strong flavor of its own, veal absorbs the flavor of the vegetables or herbs in which it is cooked. There was no flavor added to my veal.

The red cabbage was very good in a tangy-sweet sort of way.

I had to look "spaetzle" up on the Internet when I got home to determine what it was. Spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg. The small pieces of dough usually are boiled before being tossed with butter or added to soups or other dishes. In Germany, spaetzle is served as a side dish and often is accompanied by a sauce or gravy. There was no sauce or gravy with my spaetzle and, like the veal, it was bland. The cost of my entree was $18.75. Again, this was my menu choice and, had I known more about veal and spaetzle before I went to dinner, I would have chosen something else.

Dessert made up for the entree. I had the homemade apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. The strudel was absolutely excellent. The pastry literally melted in my mouth, and the apple and raisin filling was exceptional. The whole meal was worth the dessert.

A visit to The Bavarian Inn is worth your time and your money but do a little food research before your go.

The Bavarian Inn

n Food: 3 forks (out of 4)

n Service: 3 forks (out of 4)

n Atmosphere: 4 forks (out of 4)

n Value: 4 forks (out of 4)

Hours: Breakfast is served 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Sunday. Lunch is served 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Dinner is available 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Phone: 1-304-876-2551

Location: 164 Shepherd Grade Road, Shepherdstown, W.Va.

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