Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wie gehts?

We've been to Das Schnitzel Haus 3-4 times in the past 5 years and had some excellent dishes like their beefy and tender goulash, springy spaetzle, and crisp schnitzel.

A few weeks ago, we noticed a banner advertising their buffet weekdays from 12:00 - 15:00 for $7.99. Yeah, yeah, buffet, heckle, yuck, ptoo.

I happen to enjoy checking out buffets, especially ethnic buffets. Since I took a day off work, we decided to check out their buffet offerings. On the way there, I prayed for their beef goulash which I've enjoyed each time I've eaten there. Their goulash is served as a luxuriant, concentrated gravy with beef chunks. The beef is tender and probably slow cooked to achieve that flavor.

We strolled in optimistically at 12:05. I was disappointed to see a 6-7 feet long buffet table and thought it wasn't promising. Bug mumbled, "That's it?" Of course, the buffet was not ready.

Instead of walking out, we stuck it out (obviously). After ordering our drinks, we walked up and discovered that the space was utilized well. Instead of placing a large pan of a single item in each vertical slot, there were 2-6 horizontal containers in each pan slot.

Cold offerings from my rather spotty recollection were:
- a salad bowl of iceberg lettuce and 2 salad dressings, ranch and a vinaigrette
- pickles: cauliflower, cucumber, peppers, and another
- mixed salads: bean salad, a creamy salad, potato salad, coleslaw, and another

While we ate our salad, the hot dishes were brought in. The pickled cauliflower packed a vinegary punch while the cucumber was subtle.

Chicken dumpling soup was being served by our server along with bread baked on the premises. The soup tasted like homemade chicken noodle soup. The addition of well made dumplings to (almost) any soup makes a great soup exceptional. Along with fresh baked bread, this could have been my entire meal.

We returned for our entree. The pans were covered so it was fun discovering what surprises were under each hood.

In the warm section:
- wide egg noodles
- mashed potatoes
- kartoffel küchle

- kraut wickeln
- schnitzel
- beef goulash (hooray!)

- sauerkraut
- green beans with bacon and other stuff

Das Schnitzel Haus2
Bug's plate (schnitzel, goulash, cabbage wrap, mashed potatoes, and sauerkraut)

Bug was a little disappointed that spätzle was not available and scooped some mashed potatoes. I raked some of the creamy mashed potatoes from his platter, ooh'ed over them, and quickly reached for more, but stopped short of swiping more. It wasn't because I was afraid of his scowl. I could have easily inhaled a tub of the buttery goodness in 5 minutes but I am limited to 1200 cal per day.

We've had Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cabbage rolls before but kraut wickeln (cabbage wrap) was new to us. While it looked like a cabbage roll on steroids, it wasn't quite as simple as that. Both of us loved the smoky, peppery, and garlicky meat stuffing and whispered back and forth what we thought this dish comprised of. According to their menu, the filling is made of beef, pork, bacon, and rice with paprika and garlic, and wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves.

The sauerkraut was made in my favorite way, a little smokey, slightly sweet, sour, and not very crunchy. It was definitely not plopped from a bag or can.

Schnitzel is left in smaller amounts, I believe perhaps optimistically, to control the quality. Each time I've had their schnitzel, it's crispy and crunchy, whether they were made to order or in the buffet line.

Das Schnitzel Haus
My plate (cabbage wrap, potato pancakes, schnitzel, goulash)

The crisp kartoffel küchle (potato pancakes) were a touch garlicky and peppery. I could not work there, at least not during the lunch buffet. It would be agonizing not being able to graze on those medallions every time I passed them.

I was sated at this point. Bug went up for another serving and brought back mashed potatoes, egg noodles, goulash, kraut wickeln, and schnitzel. His eyes were bigger than his belly but he managed to finish his plate.

The server was peppy and came around to refill our drinks before they ran out. This is the kind of food that fills you up quickly and keeps you filled until the next day.

I'm taking a couple of days off in the near future. You know where I'll be come lunchtime!

- Cassaendra

Das Schnitzel Haus
5728 Pearl Rd
Cleveland, OH 44129-2850
Tel: (440) 886-5050

2 deep thoughts:

Mrs. L 26 May, 2010 18:33  

Ethnic buffets can be the best. Alas most of them around here are only available during the week when I'm at work and no where near my office. I'll have to check around to see if there is anything like Das Schnitzel Haus as it all sounds so good!

Cassaendra 28 May, 2010 12:50  

Hi Mrs. L~

The next best thing to a German place would be Hungarian. It's so easy to overeat when the food, especially spätzle, is done well.

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