The weather channel said it was 8 degrees when I woke up this morning. All of the sudden it felt like fall passed right by Louisville this year and the dead of winter filled it's place.
When cold weather rolls in to stay I find myself craving completely different types of food. I could eat fish and raw veggies every day during the warm months but come winter I turn into a bear preparing for hibernation. I'm looking for rich, satisfying dishes. Give me some meat...then braise it, stew it, roast it. Add some root veggies to the plate...au gratin pretty much anything...and throw a small arugula salad on the plate to make it look a teeny bit healthy and you've got a winter weather dish to satisfy.
So needless to say, I'm not looking for sushi on an 8 degree day...I'm looking for comfort food.
Are you looking for comfort food? Why not give Erika's German Restaurant a try. It's inexpensive. They serve hearty home made fare. And nothing says winter like gulasch, spaetzle and pretty much anything prepared a la schnitzel.
The hubby and I love us some German cuisine. When we were in Munich I think my husband ate his weight in schweinshaxe ("pig knuckle") and I ate enough kaesespaetzle (German noodles (spaetzle) in cheese) to put me into a mid-day-coma. We also enjoyed an amazing variety of head cheeses (I know...not everyone's cup of tea but Nick and I love the stuff) as well as some other offal-type dishes.
Unfortunately Erika's doesn't have schweinshaxe on it's menu...nor does it have some of our other, what some would consider "crazier" favorites. It does, however, succeed in offering a small variety of well made German dishes that I'm sure even the pickiest of eaters would enjoy.
After perusing the menu and preparing ourselves for a gut busting experience Nick and I passed on starters (although they had two amazing sounding soups and a potato pancake platter that was hard to pass up) and headed straight for the mains.
I'm eternally indecisive so I told myself if they made their bratwursts in-house I would choose that...otherwise I was going for the sauerbraten. I ended up with the bratwurst platter and was happy about it. For the low, low price of around $10 I was treated to two wonderfully crafted brats, a side of warm German potato salad (chock full of flavor and bacon) and a heaping helping of sauerkraut.
As much as I enjoyed my bratwursts dipped in German mustard and my warm bacon-y potatoes, I have to say that my favorite item on the plate was actually the sauerkraut. Sometimes the simplest things turn out to be the best. Typically something that gets overlooked, this side dish was really amazing. It was more reminiscent of a braised cabbage than a pickled one. It was sweet and savory with just the right amount of acid. Even after the meal, sitting there with a stuffed belly, I found myself picking at it over and over again.
Nick had the jagerschnitzel...two thinly pounded, breaded and fried pork chops smothered in a rich mushroom gravy. His pork was tender and flavorful. He commented that it was slightly over salted but he enjoyed it all the same.
Both he and I wanted to order the kartoffelknoedel, however the menu said to allow 20 minutes for preparation, and although 20 minutes really isn't all that long to wait, neither of us were interested in doing so. I somewhat regret passing the kartoffelknoedel by as it's one of our favorite side dishes. Essentially a potato dumpling, the kartoffelknoedel is a large, almost gelatinous ball of potato that is boiled and served as a very traditional side dish (see stock photo). I think it would have gone wonderfully with Nick's dish as the dumplings typically beg to be dipped in gravy. I'll be sure to order some next time I go.
As for the rest of the experience.....
The wait staff...which consisted only of one very pleasant woman(whom I suspect is Erika) and someone who bussed plates to and from tables...were courteous and warm, even though they had their hands more than full with a jam packed dining room.
I was somewhat disappointed with the salad that they served as a starter and might have rather been given the option to just add a second side dish to the plates as they all looked delicious and it was hard to choose! I have to say, I didn't actually ask if that was possible or not. It's entirely possible that all you have to do is ask...perhaps I should have.
I would have also liked to see a larger German beer selection, but weiss and dunkels were represented, and to be honest, most restaurants we went to IN Germany only served one or two brands of beer at the most. So I suppose as far as authentic goes, it's not far off.
As far as reservations go...I highly recommend them. We ate VERY early on Friday night...like 6:15...and I'm happy we did because not 10 minutes later there was a wait for those without reservations.