- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 20, 2001

Oktoberfest is all year long at The Old Stein Inn, where Mike and Beth Selinger specialize in classical and modern German cuisine.
The inn, off Central Avenue in Edgewater, Md., occupies a building that in the 1930s was one of the first southern Anne Arundel gas stations. It also had a stint as a saloon before being transformed into a cozy restaurant. When driving by, it's easy to picture the inn as someone's home.
The inn has been owned by the Selinger family for the past 18 years. Karl and Ursala Selinger, immigrants from Neustadt, Germany, recently retired and turned over the reins to son Mike and his wife, Beth.
From the moment you walk into this vine-covered cottage, you're in another country. The scene is completed by the accordion music in the background and the German furnishings everywhere you look.
The main floor has several intimate dining areas as well as a long bar. We were given the choice of seating inside or in the popular large outdoor patio and garden, the biergarten, which stays open as long as weather permits.
After a peek at the patio, we headed for the biergarten. Accented by flowers and a waterfall and surrounded with trees, this would be an excellent place to be on a mild fall evening, hoisting a few cold beers with family and friends as the leaves fall.
Speaking of beverages, a major part of German culture is beer, and the inn won't let you down in this regard. The menu touts over 30 beers. Numerous German wine selections are also available.
After some guidance from our waitress, we ordered pilsner, lager and amber drafts ($3-6). All were served cold and fresh. My favorite was a Warsteiner, "a queen among beers." Excellent balance, immediately distinctive, gentle with a flowery hoppiness. We were disappointed that the Lindemans raspberry or cherry lambic drafts ($5) were not available this particular night.
For starters, we ordered the Munster cheese and crab soup ($4) and the cambazola Bavarian brie cheese ($6). The soup was an interesting variation on the traditional cream of crab soup, as the light flavor of the Munster cheese really complemented the crab nicely. And crab soup lovers seem to agree the soup won a "People's Choice" award at last weekend's Maryland Seafood Festival.
There wasn't anything subtle about the brie, though. Its strong flavor was a perfect match with the beer.
For the main event, I ordered the Old Stein sampler platter ($19), which included a rinder rolladen, a petite pork schnitzel and a Bavarian bratwurst served with the traditional spatzle and red cabbage. All were out of this world.
My wife ordered the sauerbraten ($17), authentically prepared slices of vinegar-marinated lean beef, baked in a rich brown sauce, served with potato dumplings and red cabbage.
We also enjoyed a basket of assorted sourdough and rye bread.
Other interesting offerings included schnitzle cordon blue ($16), a breaded pork tenderloin stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese; kassler rippchen ($16), two smoked pork chops with sauerkraut and German potato salad; and Bavarian bauernwurst ($14), two smoked sausages served with sauerkraut and potato salad.
A few American entree standouts include filet mignon ($22) and Maryland crab cakes (market). A children's menu is also offered.
Dessert offerings that caught our eye were the lemon and blueberry tarte or a chocolate tarte.
The Selingers present a live accordionist on Friday and Saturday nights to enhance the existing ambience.
So if you're looking for a departure from the ordinary, visit the Old Stein for the true taste of a little town in Deutschland.
RESTAURANT: The Old Stein Inn, 1143 Central Ave. (Rt. 214), Edgewater, Md. 21037. 410/798.6807 or www.oldstein-inn.com.
HOURS: 4-10 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 4-9 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday. Closed Monday, Tuesday.
PRICES: Appetizers $5-$10, entrees $12-$22.
CREDIT CARDS: All major cards
PARKING: On site
ACCESS: Wheelchair accessible

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