Friday, May 27, 2011

Braunschweiger on the house

We're tooling into poor-man's Las Vegas (Reno) and Kathleen has a hankering for German food (red cabbage, in particular), so we ask Maxine (our GPS device) where to find an appropriate restaurant. Maxine comes up with Bavarian World, and we're off.

On the approach it's not promising. We're just a few blocks from downtown, but the neighborhood is a little, um, worn, and not in an acid-washed-jeans sort of way. The parking lot is empty, and so is the restaurant. To be fair, it's early -- before 5 p.m. on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

Behind the pastry case is a guy in a chef's hat who comes out of central casting -- think Chef Boy-Ar-Dee meets the Pillsbury Doughboy. This is Michael Cordle. In the small market that is part of the restaurant, owner Klaus Ginschel (willkommen!) talks to us about how to make a dinner of canned sauerkraut (it involves onions, bratwurst and a pinch of sugar). He also tells Kathleen that her red cabbage is more a Swedish dish than German, assuring that it is on the menu nonetheless.

Encouraged, we take a seat in the empty dining room and an amiable waiter by the name of Carl Eissmann (talk about central casting) with blond hair and a ready smile welcomes us to the cavernous place, and we're all set except for the oompah music and lederhosen. Thankfully, there is neither. Presently, owner Klaus arrives at our table and I confess my secret love for liverwurst. He says they have 15 varieties (how many ways can you make liver pate?). The special for the evening is a rolled veal stuffed with spinach, and Klaus assures us that Kathleen can have the red cabbage instead of veggies on the side.

Germans are great at beer, but their wine tends to be on the sweet side. This is good news for me, not so much for Kathleen, who likes her wine dry. Klaus assures her, however, that he can scrounge up a California chardonnay. He gives Kathleen a sip of a sweet German wine and she asks for the chardonnay. I order a glass of Spaten Optimator, served from the tap. It's a classic German dark beer and it alone is worth the stop.

Anyway, Kathleen gets the special with red cabbage and I stick with the traditional schnitzel with spaetzel. While we're waiting on the orders, Klaus brings out a complimentary appetizer of two kinds of liverwurst on a pretzel bun. It's spectacular. The rest of the meal is really good, though not quite up to the standard of the Mozart Cafe in Leavenworth, Washington. How it stacks up to your typical restaurant in Munich I haven't any idea.

We finish our meal still alone in the restaurant, cajole Michael and Carl into posing for a picture, and pick up a six pack of Opimator (one of the great names in beer), promising to come back in the morning for coffee and pastries, with a liverwurst sandwich to go for lunch. Bis morgen!

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