Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Alpine Brauhaus - Webster, Texas

A small unassuming restaurant located in a nearby strip mall has come to my attention. Nothing too unusual about that you say, there are restaurants in strip malls all over the place. Well this one is not your usual strip mall chain offering. This mall is home to the Alpine Brauhaus, a German restaurant. I love German food. It's easily up there at the top of my favorite-food-ever list.

When I think of comfort food one of the cuisines that comes to mind is the food of Germany. Sausages, potatoes, bread, cheese, I love it all. And the beer. My love of German beer goes back many years (more years now than I want to think about). Round all of that out with strudel or a Linzer Torte and maybe a glass of my favorite Riesling and I am one happy diner.

Which leads me to Alpine Brauhaus. Having lived for many years in an area abundant with German restaurants I've kind of taken them for granted. Sadly, good German food (or even not so good German food) is not so easy to come by in some parts of our country. But I'm in a lucky spot right now and there are several to choose from in the area. Alpine Brauhaus is the first one of these that we tried.

Quick aside, I just recently realized that Chicken Fried Steak is just another type of schnitzel. It was actually brought to the area by German settlers. Seems so obvious right? I can't believe that I never knew that. From the Kitchen Project website:

Schnitzel morphs into Chicken Fried Steak
In the mid 1800's German Immigrants flocked to Texas. Beef was more plentiful than veal or pork and something needed to be done with the . So instead of using veal or pork for schnitzel they used beef.
Looking for a way to sell the tougher cuts of meat they pounded it and tenderized it a bit. Legend has it that a cook accidentally grabbed one of these steaks by accident when doing an order of fried chicken. The accident was loved and became known as Chicken Fried Steak. 

Well, maybe that wasn't so quick. Anyway, we've been to Alpine Brauhaus a couple of times so far, once for lunch and once for dinner. When we were there eating lunch we had a chance to check out their dinner menu and decided that we had to come back again some evening. 

I didn't see a menu online but I have a couple of pictures of them.

Lunch Menu
Dinner Specials

Dinner Menu

The dinner item that caught our eye was the Bauernplatte (Farmer's Plate) for Two on the Specials menu. I love being able to sample a variety of what a place has to offer and this covered a lot. 

Potato and pea soup

Seeded rye bread

Krombacher Dark beer
Dinner started with what was clearly a made from scratch soup. This one was potato and pea, some rye bread and a nice Krombacher Dark beer. My only complaint was that the beer was served too cold. After I let it sit for a bit I was actually able to taste the flavor notes in the beer. A nice dark beer, I liked it. 

Then onto the main event.

Sausage, Smoked Ham Haxe, Leberkase, potatoes, purple cabbage

Green beans, sauerkraut, purple cabbage and more sausage
I'm not sure that the pictures tell the whole tale of the volume of food here. We took enough home with us for a couple more meals. While this is listed as dinner for two I would guess it could easily be dinner for 3-4. 

Everything was good and exactly what we expected. German food is very mildly spiced, some might even say bland. The most notable flavor profile in German cooking is the play of sweet and sour. A combination that I happen to love. While the flavors are definitely subtle they are all there. The sweetness of the purple cabbage and sauteed onions, the vinegary taste of the sauerkraut all play well against the rich tastes of the smoked ham haxe and the snappy, grilled sausages. And then there's the leberkase.

One of my favorite things on the plate is the Leberkase which is a mix of meats and onion that is ground together and then baked in a loaf pan. The loaf is then sliced and either grilled (shown here) or served cold in a sandwich. I really like meatloaf and this feels a lot like meatloaf's European cousin. 

After all of that deliciousness we couldn't eat another bite, not even with the siren call of Apple Strudel begging to be tried. For that reason and a few more menu items we want to try, we'll be back to Alpine Brauhaus.

When you add to that the cozy and inviting atmosphere, the grandmotherly servers and the good food this place is a gem and well worth a visit or three.

Happy dining!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this restaurant is not far from our hospital at all. Thanks for sharing! Some our doctors and nurses will have to visit one day. Webster, Texas is a beautiful city and we are proud to serve the people of Webster and the surrounding areas. Thanks again!