Steinhauskeller. Go there. Now.

June 21, 2013

This is NOT what I had for dinner. This is the special, duck breast, which I stole from their Facebook page. It looks good, too, but I bet it was no better than my dinner.

This is NOT what I had for dinner. This is the special, duck breast, which I stole from their Facebook page. It looks good, too, but I bet it was no better than my dinner.

Dear Sweet Baby Jesus, y’all. If you have a Germanic/Eastern European/Slavic cell in your DNA anywhere, go, right now, to the Steinhauskeller in Hot Springs and indulge it. If you don’t, pretend you do, and go anyway.

You will NOT be sorry. And I say that on the strength of a single meal. It will not be my last there. Because this may be the restaurant that puts the Austrian Village, of which I have in the past waxed eloquent, in the shade.

First they have a fine selection of beers, both bottle and draft, and the draft choices change periodically. Tonight, they had someone’s black lager, I disremember whom. Samples are $1.50, and a sip was all I needed to convince me I wanted a half-liter (you can get full liters, halves or quarters, a really nice touch). My dining companion, bless her heart, had Miller Lite.

On the way in, we’d met an acquaintance who’d warned us of the size of the entrees. I’d gone there jonesing for a good non-veal bratwurst, and could have ordered just that. But my eye lit on the rouladen, a beef cutlet wrapped around a bratwurst and a dill pickle spear.

Well, hell. You can’t go wrong with beef and sausage and dill pickles, right? In this case, you absolutely cannot.

The beef cutlet is pounded thin, and thus is impossibly tender. It is wrapped, as advertised, around a bratwurst snuggled up against a dill spear, and it is, I presume, tied to keep it in that shape. Then it’s braised in red wine and an assortment of spices to a point that it is damned near impossible to tell the demarcation between sausage and cutlet.

One portion is a roulade about six inches long, shaped roughly like a crescent roll but not curled in at the ends. I’d guess a portion is 10-12 ounces. Having been warned, we split an entree and each ordered two sides. I got red cabbage and cucumber salad. She got German potato salad, and a potato pancake, with the understanding we’d share everything.

I had trouble getting through half the roulade, because, well, hell, it was BIG. Also exceptionally good. The seasoning from the pickle spear and the brat leached out into the beef cutlet. If I had to guess, I’d say juniper berries and maybe caraway seeds and allspice cloves played a role in the red wine braise. I’ll be looking to see if I can replicate this, yes, I will.

The cucumber salad was a thing of beauty. Big quarter-moon slices of cucumber, seeds scooped out, marinated in vinegar, sugar and dill, then drained and tossed with plain yogurt. Be assured I will be trying to recreate that, as well.

The red cabbage, y’all. You know how I love me some red cabbage. This is red cabbage that is assertively, but not overpoweringly, seasoned. I tasted juniper, allspice, cloves, along with the vinegar, sugar and onion. It is red cabbage that — dare I say it — may possibly outdo that of the Austrian Village. It was FINE, FINE, I tell you.¬†Fortunately, I had to share only a bit of it with my non-cabbage-friendly dining companion. Her loss.

Potato salad was good. More highly seasoned than what I’m used to; more vinegar, more mustard. Very good, nevertheless. Potato pancake was good. Again, had more seasoning than I would expect in a potato pancake, not that that’s a bad thing. I left most of them on the plate, not as a function of their taste, but a function of the fact that I was not going to leave a bit of the roulade or the red cabbage, and there is a limited amount of room in my digestive tract.

We took our time, listened to the music (accordion and guitar, folk tunes, European, excellent), and then fell in to dessert. One serving of German chocolate cake, one of apple streudel.

Now, be it known I am NOT a cake fan. But this German chocolate cake was so moist, so rich, so suffused with the caramelly coconutty frosting, that I very nearly swooned. And then I tried the apple streudel, which was basking in a pool of creme Anglaise, topped with whipped cream, and I thought I was probably dying, but that was only my body reacting to the five bajillion calories I had just consumed.

There were also seriously soft, pillowy, tasty, warm pumpernickel rolls. Pretty marvelous. Well worth the leap off the gluten-free wagon.

Seriously, folks. You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em need to hurry on up over to Hot Springs and get you some dinner at this establishment. You will NOT be sorry. You WILL be full. And likely miserable. I am.

But it’s worth it.


One Response to “Steinhauskeller. Go there. Now.”

  1. […] in the shade, I tell you. It is astonishingly wonderful food, about which I have waxed wonderful before. And I went back a few nights ago. And it was still […]

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