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Schnitzel Haus

I've come to this place in life where Friday night I want food I don't have to think about, wait 30 minutes in a bar area with one square foot of personal space or make reservations for. Last week it was bone marrow on toast and stout and Gouda fondue at Bar Artisanal (which I did not blog because I'm trying to value my time more in 2010).

Schnitzel haus pork shank

This weekend was kicked off with a pork shank, only made German by its pool of brown gravy and side plate of red-skinned mashed potatoes and sauerkraut tempered by oily nubs of bacon. This is the medium, which will provide a generous dinner, late night snack the next night and a lunch 36-hours later. I have never been witness to the large or extra large. The bone-in meat cudgel will garner stares, of envy or disgust I’m not sure.

Schnitzel haus potato and sauerkraut

All I know is that the skin has been burnished to the consistency of caramelized sugar and that the dark, tender meat and fatty gelatinous folds within are far more exciting than any crème brulee.

Schnitzel haus trump Bay Ridge’s Schnitzel Haus doesn’t have the aged charm or impossible-to-get-to-by-subway allure of the Staten Island or Queens stalwarts, but those old-timers don’t have a pork shank. They also don’t have a photo of Donald Trump prominently featured in the front of the room.

Previously on Schnitzel Haus.

Schnitzel Haus * 7319 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Schnitzel Haus

1/2 I’ve never actually eaten a schnitzel at Schnitzel Haus and that’s because the pork shank, a.k.a. schweineshaxe (I can’t believe I’ve been able to use that word twice in a month) is so irresistible. And yes, I’m still doing my part to hype up German food as the new culinary hotness.


Because I was feeling gracious I allowed James to order the pork this time and I branched out with the sauerbraten. This was a dry, boring mistake. While the sauce was tart and meaty and the dumplings were carby fun, the meat was kind of eh. I don’t buy into that death of entrée bullshit but I did get bored after a few bites.

The schweineshaxe was as decadent and crackly as ever, though there was one obvious change from last year’s visit. What used to be the standard size is now listed as a special for twenty-something dollars while the version on the regular menu is a little cheaper, tinier though hardly dainty. I did say that the original shank easily made three servings, so they must’ve wised up.


We tried the smoked trout appetizer, which pretty much tasted like smoked trout. I’m not sure what was in the spread that accompanied it. If I didn’t know better I would say it was cream cheese whipped with horseradish and something sweet like applesauce, though I doubt they actually used applesauce. My only gripe was that you need something starchy with smoked meats (at least I do) and we asked for bread and no one could seem to get around to doing this, despite a breadbasket sitting on everyone else’s tables. Complaining about bread and moderately slow service is very old-lady-ish but I can’t help myself.

On this particular Friday night we were treated to a full band warbling Steely Dan and Jimmy Buffet renditions (more and more it seems that Mr. Buffet is the prime choice for cover bands) and Killepitsch girls (who looked nothing like the model on the brand site) trying to sell promotional shots of herbal liqueur. I was curious, but not $5 curious.

I hear there is a buffet on certain weeknights. You don’t see many, if any, German all-you-can-eat offerings in NYC, and it’s doubtful there’s much demand either. But if unlimited spaetzle and brats are your thing, Bay Ridge is the place to be. (12/12/07)

Keeping it simple with my review

Haus_inside“The Killmeyer’s chef is now at Schnitzel Haus” doesn’t have the same stop-the-presses effect as say, Pierre Schaedelin exiting Le Cirque
(that doesn’t actually mean much to me either—just trying to be à la
minute). But as the venerable taxidermy, cuckoo clock and beer stein
haunts (and the Germans who patronize them) of Glendale and Middle
Village begin to dwindle, they’re not dying out altogether. They’re
just being reincarnated into modern renditions. Not modern in the sense
of Loreley or Zum Schneider but suburban and shiny like Manor
Oktoberfest, which just opened in the bizarro Shops at Atlas Park,
and Schnitzel Haus, which appeared a few months ago in Bay Ridge on
that moderately quaint chunk of Fifth Avenue that completely changes
character the second step under the BQE and out of Sunset Park.

food doesn’t really get much respect in these parts—it’s hearty, heavy,
clunky—but it has a time and place. The deep-freeze that set in this
past weekend was crying out for dark beer and sausage (painfully humid Hua Hin,
on the other hand, couldn’t tempt me with brown bread and brauts no
matter what) and Friday nights I usually stick to Brooklyn. I don’t
even know of any other German options in the borough, so Schnitzel Haus
it was.

The scene is pretty easy to grasp: valet parking,
glowing Christmas tree, holiday tchotchkes on the walls, live solo
entertainer alternating between George Benson hits and carols, and a
bar filled with non-ironic mustached men and their dolled-up
middle-aged wives. Kind of an NYPD/FDNY vibe (though later on a large
group of young, outdoorsy-hip types came in with the Park Slope version
of teen flash-in-the-pan Jackson Pollis). I loved it.

was tempted by the meat salad listed in the appetizers but decided to
go with something, uh, lighter: the venison-cherry sausage with potato
salad. Hey, there’s fruit and vegetables in that. Oh, and crumbles of
bacon stuck between wedges of mayonnaised starch.

I didn’t even know where to begin with the entrees. There’s a whole
page of sausages and every meat gets the same voluminous treatment. It
had to be pork. I was hoping the schweinshaxe hofbrauhaus would
be like alpine lechon; fatty, tender flesh encased in a crackly skin.
And it was, though I was knocked out by the size of the shank, which
took up so much room that the accompanying mashed potatoes and
sauerkraut were served on a separate Singer
plate. The meaty hunk was so gargantuan that I ate it for dinner the
next night and still couldn’t finish it. I can see why they’ve
instituted a $2 plate-sharing fee. With the exception of the daintier
specials (a meatloaf that I spied on the table next to us and a pork
loin hollandaise dish that I thought sounded odd but James ordered
anyway) the mains could easily be split two ways at the very least.

Dessert was out of the question. Instead I ordered a third beer and
savored the warbling of “On Broadway” being sung only feet away. (12/12/06)

Schnitzel Haus * 7319 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY

Gasthaus zur Oper

There is only so much you can do, i.e. eat, while in
Vienna for 24 hours. There is no question, though, that wiener schnitzel must
make an appearance. It’s in the name, right?

Gasthaus zur Oper, airy and modern and nearly Scandinavian
in feel with its blonde wood and  white
on white color scheme, is not necessarily where you’d expect to find fried
cutlets. Or where I would, at least, having imagined the traditional dish in
homey but dowdier surroundings.

Gasthaus zur oper schnitzel

And their version is top notch: a wrinkly golden-crisp
exterior with no trace of grease, pan-fried in clarified butter. Though pork is
popular in the US and veal is traditional in Vienna, and definitely the
most-ordered thing at Gasthaus zur Oper, this specimen happened to contain
thinly pounded liver. Yep, liver. The schnitzel treatment works well for the
strongly flavored organ meat; it can take the breading without disguising its
true nature (I was originally given the veal ordered at my table and there was
no mixing up the two after first bite.)

Gasthaus zur oper table

The cold potato salad was in a light, refreshing
style, tart with lemon juice and creamy without the use of mayonnaise with
minced red onion for a little more bite. I’ve never eaten schnitzel in its
natural habitat (Berlin being the closest) so the accompaniments were
surprising: lingonberry jam for sweetness (I thought that was more Nordic) and
a glass bottle containing a mysterious sauce that turned out to be concentrated
pan drippings, beef, I’m guessing. Gravy and berries work just as well for
schnitzel as for Swedish meatballs.

Gasthaus zur Oper * Walfischgasse 5-7, 1010, Vienna,

Eaten, Barely Blogged: From House to Haus

Peaches hothouse chickenPeaches HotHouse I suspected the hot hothouse chicken would be no lie, but the boyfriend thought they were bullshitting. And he paid the price. The cayenne-induced blast is possibly the hottest thing we've experienced after Sripraphai's Southern Curry. Taking them seriously (because I read up on things ahead of time) I picked the regular hothouse chicken, which weirdly wasn't hot enough, a little sweet and a lot peppery. A middle-ground fried chicken is desperately needed. Also, the restaurant is oddly Shazaam-resistant. It would not work for me or the young man I noticed holding up his phone to no avail. I was able to recognize Bill Withers' "Ain't No Sunshine" on my own.

Goat town mexican mondayGoat Town I thought I'd been to Butcher Bay during Lent last year, but after checking my blog (my only tie to reality, it seems) that visit was actually in April 2009. What the fuck? How did I lose two years? Now I've been freaked out all week and afraid I'll die in my sleep one night not realizing I'm completely elderly and decrepit. Butcher Bay is now Goat Town and on so-called Mexican Mondays you can order Tex-Mex things like the oozy Velveeta-ish enchiladas and puffy lengua tacos we had at non-Texan prices.

Schnitzel Haus The Bay Ridge German restaurant was so uncharacteristically bustling on a Friday that the only table was an awkward two-seater nearest to the Donald Trump photograph in front of the guy doing Neil Diamond covers and in line with the door blowing chilly gusts  (it was unusually cold Friday night) every time it opened. And the table we were given upstairs (who knew there was an upstairs?) after asking if we could move was even more awkward–dark and empty minus a staticky radio station filling the dead air and large group speaking a Slavic language–proving that whenever I try fighting my  tendency to never speak up, it doesn't  pay off.  I drank a Spaten Optimator and part of a schnitzel smothered in mushroom gravy and was out of there. Previously on Schnitzel Haus.



After so much gravy and fries, I just wanted something light and fresh like…fondue. Ok, what I really wanted was something old fashioned and festive. Alpenhaus more than met my needs.

Alpenhaus seating

Fondue is a confusing dish, though. I treat it as an entrée (American entrée, not entrée meaning appetizer like in the rest of the world including Canada). But it’s always on a menu with other big dishes, whether veal cordon bleu at a traditional restaurant or heritage pork cassoulet at a more modern one. Are you supposed to treat it as a starter? At Pain Béni in Quebec City (which I’m not blogging because I’m trying to be more restrained) a group ordered cheese fondue as dessert, which isn’t a bad idea.
Alpenhaus fondue

I’ve never encountered a fondue for two as massive as the three-inches of melted Emmental and Gruyere that was presented to us in this weathered, red crock. We were warned against ordering a rosti and the large cheese-and-sausage heavy salad, and I can see why.

Nonetheless, the male half of a couple sitting nearby yelled out to the waiter, “Yes, now I do want the wienerschnitzel!” implying that his original order had been tamed, as well. He got his veal cutlet.

Alpenhaus salad
And we ordered the Alpenhaus salad anyway.

Alphenhaus * 1279 Rue St-Marc, Montreal, Canada

Nurnberger Bierhaus

1/2 Like many rewarding experiences in life, the most fun are often those you never saw coming. While errand running in New Jersey I didn’t imagine that by 11pm I would be surrounded by karaokers in a Staten Island German restaurant. It happens.

Relying on a GPS for food advice has rarely panned out. With its perpetual crowds out the door, cheap Tex-Mex go to, Jose Tejas, is unapproachable before 9:30pm. We turned to the Garmin Nuvi to find other nearby Mexican/Spanish options (I’ll never understand why people think burritos and paella come from the same geographic region) and were directed to downtown Linden. I love the township’s down and out fading Polish main drag and was once lured into a tavern, but wasn’t sure I wanted to eat in the neighborhood (I only recently read about White Diamond and can’t figure out why I hadn’t encountered them yet). It turned out that both recommended restaurants, Don Alex and suspiciously named, The Mexican Restaurant, were nowhere to be found. Thanks for nothing, GPS.

Nurnberger bierhaus mantle
Apropos to nothing, I decided I could use something porky and big mug of beer. Easy, we have to go through Staten Island to get back to Brooklyn, anyway. My only sadness with Staten Island German (Killmeyer’s being the other) is that they don’t offer pork knuckle, one of the finest examples of porcine extremes: the crackliest skin housing a mound of tender, moist meat. I just realized that I’ve bemoaned the lack of pork knuckles and shanks in practically every German write-up I’ve ever posted. I guess I really like pork knuckles. They do a great rendition at Bay Ridge’s Schnitzel Haus and possibly the best version I’ve had was at King Ludwig’s in Hong Kong. Yes, Hong Kong—I can’t live on congee and dumplings, alone.

Nurnberger bierhaus kassler rippchen
Instead, I settled for kassler rippchen, smoked pork chops. They’re nothing like a knuckle, all soft and yielding with little textural contrast, but there is charm to salty smokiness buffered by a scoop of mashed potatoes and a bed of mild sauerkraut.

Nurnberger bierhaus sausage
Hmm, I thought we asked for the game sausage trio, the same appetizer we had on our last visit, but were presented with three all-the-same sagey links that I figured out where rostbratwurst, baby brautwurst. I’m not sure if we were misunderstood or if after 10pm (the remaining tables were all wrapping up by the time we sat down) you get what you get.

As we finished up leisurely, half the waitresses began changing out of dirndls and into street clothes and some of the staff began pushing dining tables to the edge of the wall and setting up speakers and lights. A new boisterous crowd, composed of quite a few revelers who barely looked out of high school, supplemented by a few middle aged men, slowly started trickling in. Laminated spiral bound books were being placed on tables. Ah ha, karaoke.

“Ok, time to go” immediately popped out of James mouth.

Not so fast. I wasn’t feeling so quick to flee. “No, we have to stay for at least one song,” I pleaded.

“This is going to be bad,” James countered, not instilling confidence with his kill joyness.

“No, this is going to be good,” I affirmed. And another beer would certainly improve matters, so we shifted to the bar to watch from a safer distance. I don’t sing.

Nurnberger bierhaus bar
I will admit to brief hesitation, my only ever NYC neo-nazi encounter occurred in an outer borough German bar attached to a restaurant, but I can judge each far flung German bar in the city as an individual.

Nurnberger bierhaus bavarian bizza Would it surprise you that the first song was “99 Red Balloons?” Thankfully, that was the bulk of ’80s nostalgia, things sped rapidly into the ’90s with the exception of an older gent’s rendition of The Eagles’ “Take it Easy,” a song I always associate with being made to jog in circles around the gym in grade school. (In a similar not terribly blood-pumping vein America’s “Ventura Highway,” somehow managed to get on my iPod shuffle I use at the gym and nearly conjures P.E. nightmares.)

No pork chops after 11pm, that’s when the bar menu inserted on the front page of the song choice guide, becomes standard. I’m still marveling over the concept of “Bavarian Bizza.” (6/14/09)

Despite a few somber, scary image problems, German food has always equaled fun to me, maybe in the same way that festive is synonymous with nachos and margaritas to others. I’m playing into stereotypes and kitsch but it’s not as if there are tons of haute Teutonic options in the city (Austrian and Alsatian is another story). I’m sure young Berliners aren’t clinking steins and hunkering over platters of sauerbraten.

I know I’ve mentioned Portland’s Rheinlander before because it was the German food of my formative years. I don’t even think it’s all that German (my favorite dish of theirs was always fondue. Hmm, I just looked at their menu and it appears that they’ve changed with the times. They’ve added touches like lemongrass beurre blanc, mint-cilantro oil and “hand-formed” salmon cakes to their stodgy roster). The roaming accordion player, cuckoo clock, chalet-style eatery is where we very rarely celebrated milestones. It was special occasion food. At least I treated it that way.

My oversized Taz t-shirt loving stepsister that I thankfully never lived with, once horrified me while eating a Rheinlander chicken cutlet with mushroom sauce and saying to the waitress, “Those mushrooms were good. Can I have some more?” Um, since when were seconds standard restaurant practice? (I swear I read a reader comment on some Vegas travel or food site from a guy who said that he got received more of a dish he liked a L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Who would have the audacity to ask?) She got more mushrooms and gravy, though.

After trolling the Staten Island Mall and nearby Costco (I hate Manhattan shopping and needed to return a Liz Claiborne down coat that I’d purchased the week before and had only worn once because I decided that I hated it and the zipper was already giving me trouble and after Friday’s massive rainstorm I realized I needed a hood. It wasn’t until yesterday that I figured out that I’d left my new Metrocard in the pocket) we considered trying the parking lot Carrabba’s because I’d never been to one and I enjoy feeling like a casual dining chain aficionado. Unfortunately, I’m quickly discovering that Saturday night mall restaurants are out of the question. The Applebee’s and Outback Steakhouse were also nightmares. We almost went to the Chinese cocktail lounge, Jade Island, in a strip mall down the street. I’ve since discovered that it’s high tiki and must return soon. At the time I was set on finding the other Staten Island German restaurant, not Killmeyer’s.

After following some crazy Google Maps directions that put us down a tiny back alley called Regan Avenue, we were right in front of Nurnberger Bierhaus. It was a less cavernous place than I’d anticipated. The bar in front takes up nearly as much space as the dining room but tables line one side of the drinking area and are considered part of the regular seating. While waiting for an opening I tried a Paulaner. I later noticed the Nurnberger Sauerkraut on the drink list. Talk about a dirty martini—I’d never heard of a Bombay gin and pickled cabbage combo.

We had a generous four-seater before I was halfway through my beer. No faux beepers, crying kids or hour-plus waits. There were lots of heavy New York accents, moustaches and crew cuts, though. And everyone seemed to know everyone. We jokingly speculated whether or not we’d be embraced into the Aryan fold (not that anyone was even remotely racist, but I did have a charming vicarious neo-nazi experience at a Glendale German restaurant some time ago). For the record, the down-to-earth service was nice as can be, and the owners who had taken over a large round table to dine with a group of guys both made a point to wave and say goodbye to us on our way out.

Even though I’m generally indifferent to sausages (and loathe wieners, franks, whatever you call them—I don’t enjoy hot dogs, one of my few food aversions) the game sampler sounded worth trying. Supposedly there was a rabbit, duck, boar and lamb link. Our waitress couldn’t visually discern between the two ruddy brown cylinders in the middle of the row of meat and that’s because I’m pretty sure they were both boar. Nothing on the plate tasted like poultry. The boar was close to the flavor of breakfast sausage, a little too Jimmy Dean for me. The rabbit was light and naturally spicy, my favorite.

I love sauerkraut (and cabbage in general) so I thought the double dose, white as a bed for my smoked pork chops and red in a separate small dish, was smart. I had to hold myself back from ordering the pork sampler plate like I normally might and stuck to the two kassler rippchen, hardly dainty. I was kind of hoping they’d have a massive pork shank like I had at Bay Ridge’s Schnitzel Haus not too long ago.

The small Xeroxed ad in the front window for Saturday night karaoke didn’t register until our waitress mentioned it to us. I was really tempted to stick around and see what type of crowd and music would possibly be on display but we didn’t have the energy to kill an hour until the 11pm kick off. On my next Staten Island visit it’s going to be a tough call between German karaoke and the tiki lounge in a Kmart parking lot. (3/7/2007)

Nurnberger Bierhaus * 817 Castleton Ave., Staten Island, NY


1/2 Googling killmeyer's vs nurnberger bierhaus
recently brought someone to this site, and strangely, I had the exact
same question last week. This is German food weather, but where to go?

Manhattan just doesn’t work, though I’ll admit that I haven’t given it a chance. I probably would appreciate the kitsch factor at Rolf’s, especially this time of year. Queens is rife with options, and part of me is curious about Manor Oktoberfest since it’s in that bizarro Atlas Park Mall…um, and they serve a Cuban panini. Schnitzel Haus is Brooklyn’s only contender (and might just have the best food of any I’ve tried so far–two words: schweinshaxe “hofbrauhaus" a.k.a. pork knuckle ). But really, the best ambiance is in Staten Island, yes, Staten Island.

Killmeyer’s is barely even in the city. After winding for miles on woodsy dimly lit Arthur Kills Road, you could practically be in the Black Forest. If you really pushed your imagination, this isolated pocket could even be the setting for my favorite Grimm Brothers' fairy tale, "The Bird, the Mouse and the Sausage."

Killmeyers dining room

Due to its inconvenient location (though there are bus stops outside) the crowd tends to be very local, and on a Saturday night the bar was more crowded than the dining room. I sipped a Bitburger at a lone unoccupied table while waiting for friends to arrive (the same ones that I’d randomly ran into at Wegmans just a few hours earlier).

I wonder if forcing the staff to wear festive costumes is key to the experience? Maybe that’s why I shy away from Manhattan…too much dignity. But what is German food without a Snow White-style building, moose heads and dirndl-clad lasses? (I’m seriously looking forward to Hua Hin where I’ll be in two weeks because the coastal town is thick with German expatriates who run businesses staffed by Thais in lederhosen and the like. So wrong for the tropics.)

Killmeyers potato pancakes

Potato pancakes with the requisite sour cream and applesauce were shared by all. They were a little oily but not offputtingly so. 

Killmeyers farmer's feast

I was a little disheartened that there wasn’t any pork knuckle on the menu (I checked Nurnberger Bierhaus’ and Zum Stammtischs’ too and same deal. Sure, Schnitzel Haus seems oddly located in Bay Ridge, but they have the massive, crispy, fatty pork knuckle!). In order to try and satisfy my pork tooth, I opted for the farmer’s feast, which includes pork loin, smoked pork chop and pork sausage with sauerkraut, red cabbage and potato dumplings. It’s a lot of food. I could’ve survived on sauerkraut and kassler rippchen, but was happy for variety (and lunch the next day). The overall effect was sweet, tart and salty. Perfect with dark wheat beer whose name I’ve forgotten but in a style called dunkelweizen.

Killmeyers sausage plate

Sausage trio for a recently lapsed herbivore. On my last visit to Killmeyer’s I was accompanied by two vegetarians and it was tough going variety-wise. They do have a vegetarian plate, if need be.

Killmeyers sauerbraten

Sauerbraten. This looked wonderfully dark and rich. I always intend to branch out into something non-porcine (though chicken or fish is pushing it) but after once ordering a lackluster sauerbraten at Schnitzel Haus instead of my favorite dish, yes, that damn pork knuckle, I was deeply disappointed. No German beef ever again.

Killmeyers sundae

There was no need for dessert and yet James was swayed by ridiculously fluffy overflowering sundaes being brought to tables throughout our dinner. No, there’s nothing particularly Bavarian about ice cream covered in walnuts and Bailey’s Irish Cream. But seriously, look at that thing. 

Killmeyers black forest cake

Is black forest cake authentic or one of those regionally whack things like English muffins or Singapore noodles?

I can’t help but notice the “Book your holiday party now!!” plea on their website. I wish. After last year’s foodie-planned office party fiasco at Bacaro, someone else took over holiday celebration duties and we’re now going to someplace I’ve never heard of called Kemia Bar where I doubt squid ink, head-on sardines or chicken livers will make an appearance. (11/15/08)

I did an Oktoberfest roundup of Glendale, Queens German restaurants for the
NY Post a few years ago. While the slant of the article was alcohol not
food, we did stay for supper at Zum Stammtisch, the best of the lot (Von
Westernhagen, up the street, was the site of one of my creepiest ever NYC
experiences courtesy of a multigenerational white pride patrons who honest
to goodness greeted each other “sieg heil”). Zum Stammtisch was
such a hit that I've since returned with different groups of friends, and
even the vegetarian was happy despite the 99% meat menu.

I gathered that Killmeyer's was cut from the same cloth (or in this case,
tapestry bearing castles and unicorns), but the location more obscure (at
least Glendale is subway accessible if you don't mind a walk). Even driving,
it felt like a haul, I think we were as close to New Jersey as possible
while still being in NYC (which was further evidenced by the preponderance
of large men in baggy jeans, leather jackets, and gold chains).

Pre and post dinner courses were unnecessary bookends. A cheese and meat
plate wasn't terribly exciting with thick sticks of grocery store swiss,
muenster and cheddar (though the mustard was lively) and suffered from a
lack of good dark bread. Desserts were unremarkable, the black forest cake
felt institutional and dining companions insisted the sundae was made with
ice milk rather than ice cream. Go for the hearty mains, and with gusto,
everything else is just filler anyway.(1/9/05)

4254 Arthur Kill Rd., Staten Island, NY

Shovel Time: The Rheinlander

twoshovelI know no one gives a shit about Rheinlander other than me. Portland is strangely void of history and nostalgia, and well, I’m not sure the food is even good anymore (or if it even ever was). Oh, I guess one person does. It would never even occur to me to pitch a missive from the closing of the Rheinlander to The Awl, but there it is. I’m pretty sure I was there the same night as the author too. That’s why I’m a blogger.

rheinlander-dining-roomI went Christmas week, desperate to see the German restaurant that served as special occasion marker in my family into my early 20s one last time. It was brighter than I remembered, though that may have something to do with the Alpine room (I think it was called) right off the lobby, less labyrinthine and hidden. The food was brought out in quick succession, no waiting for appetizers to be eaten before mains. You could have a three-course meal and be out in an hour (my family who have no patience would probably love that).


There were two accordionists, no Victor Meindl, not in lederhosen. (I recently looked him up as he permanently seemed middle-aged when I was young and could’ve been anywhere from 50-65, so it’s possible he’s still alive. There is an gentleman with his name in West Linn, so I’m holding out hope that he’s still around.)  The fondue is served in a microwavable bowl rather than a cast iron crock.


But…I don’t know…the food was pretty solid. Maybe not so pretty, but delicious. I never order sauerbraten since the last time years ago at Schnitzel Haus it was dry and stringy. Here, it was not, and I could eat the lightly browned, buttered spaetzle for ever. I love red cabbage sauerkraut too.


The local boyfriend who I’d dragged along (I made a reservation for 4 but couldn’t find two other takers!) seemed mystified by the menu and ordered a chicken schnitzel with mushroom sauce, which took me back at least 20 years ago when I attended Christmas dinner with my dad’s new family, and Jody, the methy step-sister who I always imagine in over-sized Loony Toons shirts ordered that very dish. She liked it so much she asked, “Could I get more mushrooms?” and I suffered humiliation by proxy. You ask for seconds at restaurants? She got an extra helping, served in a little side dish, by the way.


Apple streudel, which I’m so-so on, but it was the only German dessert on the menu. I don’t even remember the other three, though I totally wouldn’t be surprised if there was a chocolate lava cake.


We both grew up in the Portland area, so I reminisced how Horst Mager was the original celebrity chef (ok, James Beard, whatever) and appeared on AM Northwest all the time and he had no idea who I was talking about. Times change. Mager was quoted in a press release, “This decision didn’t happen overnight; we’ve been discussing it for a long time. I have bittersweet feelings about it, of course. But I feel it’s the right thing to do, especially considering today’s Portland food scene. It has been evolving, and so must we.” Self-aware, yet I’m not sure what evolution even means for Portland’s food scene. Food trucks and pop-ups can’t be the be all to end all.


I look ok here, maybe a little sweaty, but I had to find and go straight to after-hours urgent care after this meal because I couldn’t swallow or hear and couldn’t stop coughing. I only point this out because Portland makes me crazy but it’s so goddamn easy. (I would consider moving back if the average rents now were less than my NYC mortgage and maintenance.) It was like a 12-minute drive to a different quadrant of the city (NE to NW), we were able to park right in front of the clinic, I was seen right away and in and out in 20 minutes, including the filling of two prescriptions, and it was $65. (I had an ear infection.) I haven’t been so impressed since I had to go to the hospital in Singapore and it was posh and $35.

Previously, on The Rheinlander. 

The Rheinlander * 5035 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland, OR 

Put An Egg On It

Schnitzel haus leberkase

Much like the now famous “Put a bird on it” Portlandiaism, for some time barnyardy chefs have been fond of putting fried eggs on just about everything. I am not opposed to this flourish in all its permutations.

And for no reason whatsoever, while entertaining Portlanders over the past eight days I consumed an unusual amount of eggs—from devilled eggs at Dinosaur BBQ where we were accidentally brought two servings to the monte cristo at Savoia, which was really an Italian eggs benedict.

Of course contemporary chefs don’t own eggs as garnish. At Bay Ridge’s Schnitzel Haus where entrees easily contain a full pound of meat, they serve a classic leberkäse, a veal and pork bologna loaf that is grilled and topped with fried eggs and surrounded by mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. With freshly cooked eggs, I made two breakfast servings this morning and there is still enough loaf remaining for multiple meals. Happy Easter, if I can stomach it.

Caputo's egg bread

After two visits to Little Italy’s Ferrara, I suggested my mom visit a non-touristy Italian bakery frequented by locals. Caputo’s brusque, “Who’s next? I said who’s next?!” chaos on their “busiest day of the year” according to one brassy counter woman, certainly provided that bit of Brooklyn charm lacking on Grand Street. No time for questions or leisurely skimming the glass case, my mom chose four of the sweet rolls baked around a hard boiled egg and topped with rainbow sprinkles.

I know I never encountered Italian Easter bread in Portland. And maybe it was new for the security at JFK, as well. Apparently, the holiday goods prompted a step-aside bag search when the visitors were heading back to the west coast. The damage on this particular roll was done by me, ripping apart wildly before photographing.


Writing Samples
Restaurant Reviews

Fan Ti

AJ Maxwell's
Athens Tavern
Bistro Desaret
Brasil Coffee House
Cafe Noir
Caffe e' Vino
Cherin Sushi
La Casa del Pollo
Chao Thai
La Dolce Vita

Szechuan Village

Grand Sichuan House
Great Burrito
Happy Family
5 Noodle House

Lucky Mojo
My Kitchen
Om Tibet
The Park Room
Palm Court


Reds Produce
Ren Ren

Schnitzel Haus
Sheng Wang
Time Cafe
Tokyo La Men
Le Train Bleu

Village Pizza
Wok to Walk


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and Deliver

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These aphrodisiac entrees will spice up your Valentine's Day


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The Latino turnover moves away from meat fillings

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Ring in the Lunar New Year with a downtown bar binge
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Find the perfect drinking spot to watch the marathoners trot 
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Alma Grill
Buenos Aires
El Castillo de Jagua
Chiles & Chocolate Oaxacan Kitchen

Flor's Kitchen
Gonzalez y Gonzalez
Itzocan Bistro
Palo Santo
Pio Pio
Real Azteca
Salud! Restaurant & Bar
San Antonio Bakery #2
Sophie's Cuban Cuisine
Tacos Matamoros
Tapeo 29
Tierras Colombianas
La Vuelta

Out New York
Eating and Drinking Guide



Cafe Lalo



Dock's Oyster Bar


Good World Bar and Grill
La Bonne Soupe

Peggy O'Neill's



Sunny's Bar

Village Voice
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