Bradenton’s Lucky Frog Restaurant is an authentic German restaurant owned and operated by Chef Uwe and his wife Simone, both of German origin. Even though this is a new find for me, they opened their doors nine years ago and are still going strong.
Everything in their kitchen is made from scratch and to order. On the first visit, I ordered potato cakes and the server said, “Listen for the chef to be shredding the potatoes to make your cakes”. She wasn’t joking. Hand-shredded, hand-packed potato cakes hot and crispy straight from the skillet. That’s just the start.
What do I mean when I say this restaurant was built on a fairy tale? The name Lucky Frog was inspired by the children’s story “The Lion and the Frog”. The story is narrated from the German point of view of the Brothers Grimm, well-known 19th-century folklore writers responsible for such writings as “Hansel and Gretel”, “Snow White” and “Little Red Riding Hood.” The stories are collected and presented as “Grimm’s Fairy Tales,” which was originally published in 1812-1815.
Every menu item at The Lucky Frog derives its name from the stories. There’s the Grimm’s Snack Plate, which I would describe as a German charcuterie plate including liverwurst, mettwurst, camembert cheese, pickles, tomato, onions, rye bread, and butter; and the Beautiful Princess, which is the name for their beef goulash dish with spaetzle and meat sauce. We’ll reveal more names as we explore the menu.
As I mentioned before, the first visit started with the Golden Tent, a dish consisting of two potato cakes with sour cream (typically also served with smoked salmon). Our entrees that evening included the Dark Forest, pork schnitzel with a creamy sauce and spaetzle, and the Wild Hunt, a breaded pork schnitzel stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese served with cucumber potato salad.
You can see the reference to the story in the name of each dish. You may recognize the Brothers Grimm fairy tale that begins with “Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who had a son and a daughter. The prince (the couple’s young son) went hunting very often and stayed in the forest for a long time, but one time he didn’t come back home. His sister was crying so badly that she couldn’t take it anymore and decided to go out in the forest to look for her brother.” In the end, the story is one of bravery with a happy end and a large celebration.
On that first visit, we ended our meal with a Salzburger Nockerl – a sweet soufflé made from egg yolk, flour, sugar, and vanilla mixed into a dough. The egg white and granulated sugar are whisked into a meringue until soft peaks form, and then mixed into the dough with a spatula.
Finally, dumplings or “nockens” of the mixture are baked in an oven until lightly brown on the outside. A Salzburger Nockerl is always freshly prepared and served warm with powdered sugar. Thursday nights are the only evening they offer this dessert. It truly is an incredible testament to Chef Uwe’s culinary and baking skills.
On another visit, we started with an order of the Loving Parents, a bruschetta plate with toppings of fresh tomato with basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. The bread is served warm and the toppings are served in a small mason jar to spread on the bread points.
Entrees that evening were the Happy End – tenderloin beef stroganoff strips with mushroom cream sauce and homemade spaetzle – and the King’s Favorite, a beef roulade (rolled beef with grilled onions, mustard and a pickle in the center) with red cabbage and spaetzle.
You can’t leave without dessert, and it’s hard to choose from their selection. They all seem to be at a skill level that you don’t find in many restaurants. We ordered two, even though one is plenty to share.
The first was a Black Forest Tower Cake – a home-baked chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries; the second was the Sweet Kiss, “spaghettieis” or vanilla spaghetti ice cream with coconut flakes, whipped cream and fruit sauce.
I first learned about spaghetti ice cream when a friend was visiting Germany last year and I saw his post of this incredible treat. In the dish, vanilla ice cream is extruded through a modified Spätzle press, giving it the appearance of spaghetti. The ice cream is usually topped with strawberry or raspberry sauce. I’ve searched and searched and this is the only restaurant I can find that offers this dessert in our area.
The Lucky Frog also offers a few specialty dishes that include a Pork Shank, for one or two people, with potato dumplings and sauerkraut and the Queen and King Together which is a whole Duck with red cabbage and potato dumplings. They suggest calling and ordering these dishes ahead of time due to the preparation time involved.
Every meal is made to order and I believe that you’ll enjoy trying some new dishes. The dining experience at the Lucky Frog has proven to be one of great satisfaction where Chef Uwe’s culinary skill, attention to service and a link to German folklore will make your visit a special one.
The Lucky Frog German Restaurant is located at:
4625 Cortez Rd W, Bradenton, FL 34210
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00 am to 8:30 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday