Portland, OR: Do Not Miss This Swiss Delight In The Quaint Northeast Alberta Neighborhhod


Swiss Hibiscus

4950 NE 14th Avenue
Portland, OR 97211
Northeast Portland, King
Phone: (503) 477-9224
Website: swisshibiscus.com
Prices: $$$$

Located in the up-and-coming, trendy Alberta neighborhood of Northeast Portland, I was surprised by Swiss Hibiscus’ appearance, expecting an older chalet-style building adorned with flower boxes and Swiss flags, but it is housed in a small modern, multi-purpose building a half block off of the main Alberta Street drag on 14th. The restaurant is small with only six or so tables inside (seating around 25) and another three or four outside (if the Portland weather cooperates), bringing the maximum seating to around 40 diners. A reservation is a must during prime hours and can be made by calling the number above.

We started with the Swiss Fondue ($24) shared among three of us and there was plenty to go around. A blend of Swiss cheeses, white wine, and kirschwasser (a clear German cherry brandy), heated in a traditional fondue pot and served with plenty of chunky French bread pieces. It was a bit pricey, but delicious and as good as any fondue I have had.
For entrees, my friend’s wife had the Emince Zurichoise ($14.50), thin slices of pork sautéed in a mushroom cream sauce reminiscent of Zurich and accompanied by handmade spätzle. Each entree was preceded by a cup of soup de jour (a creamy potato leek) or house salad with their signature dressing and their crusty, piping hot French bread.

My friend Mike ordered the special of the day, Chicken Valaisanne ($17.50), two chicken breast halves smothered with sauteed tomatoes and onions and melted raclette cheese perched atop a bed of spinach and accompanies by their famous rösti, crispy Swiss hash browns infused with bacon and onions … YUM!

I had the traditional Wienerschnitzel ($14.50), breaded pork cutlets sautéed in and topped with browned butter. I ordered a side of the Zurichoise mushroom cream sauce ($2) for my schnitzel and rösti, a wise choice because it made for a perfect combination similar to the Rahmschnitzel sauce I have enjoyed in Germany on many occasions. The cutlets were smaller and thinner than most I have had, but after the fondue and soup, I was quite glad that they were not of the traditional behemoth variety and was able to finish my plate.

Schnitzel Sans Gravy

Schnitzel With Gravy

A delightful and fortunate find on Yelp, we enjoyed our meal immensely, the service was friendly and efficient, and the prices very fair for the quality of the menu offerings. The only drawbacks were the smallish size of the restaurant and the somewhat limited menu.

CombatCritic Gives Swiss Hibiscus A Nearly Perfect 9 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better

Nine Bombs Equates To:
“U.S. Marine Response To A Verbal Greeting Or As An Expression Of Enthusiasm”

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Swiss Hisbiscus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Swiss HibiscusSwiss Hibiscus


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Title: Portland, OR: Do Not Miss This Swiss Delight In The Quaint Northeast Alberta Neighborhhod

Key Words: Swiss Hibiscus, Swiss, hibiscus, Switzerland, German, French, Austrian, Alberta, Portland, Oregon, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, Zomato, Tabelog
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NYC, NY: "Wurst" Food On Three Most Recently Visited Continents


Lederhosen
39 Grove Street
New York, NY 10014
Between Bedford Street and Bleecker Street 
West Village
Phone: (212) 206-7691
Prices: $$$$

I should have gotten the clue when all of the other restaurants and bars on the street were packed and Lederhosen only had five people inside beside the bartender/server. Unfortunately, I did not.

This was the “wurst” German food, make that WORST FOOD (if I dare call it that), I have eaten in a long, long time. The bartender warned me that the beer was sour, but so were the potato soup ($3), the schnitzel sandwich ($8), and the Jägerschnitzel ($19).

I have traveled extensively in Germany and Eastern Europe where schnitzel is a staple and have never tasted anything as disgusting as the Jägerschnitzel I was just barely was able to keep down tonight. On top of that, the accompanying fried potatoes were burnt to a crisp.

When I mentioned all of this to the server/bartender, we did not get as much as a “sorry” or an offer to make things right, only an unintelligible wisecrack from the obviously inebriated proprietor on the way out.

The only saving grace was the soft pretzel ($3) and mustard which was cheap and not bad, being the sole thing keeping this greasy spoon from ending up with a single bomb and a spot on my WALL OF SHAME.

CombatCritic Gives Lederhosen 2 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Two Bombs Equates To

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

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Lederhosen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Title: NYC, NY: “Wurst” Food On Three Most Recently Visited Continents

Key Words: Lederhosen, German, bar, West Village, west, village, Manhattan, NYC, New York City, New York, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu, review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: Tango-Uniform = “Tits Up” 

Washington, DC: CombatCritic Was In The Haus … And He Wasn’t Happy


Biergarten Haus
1355 H Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Between N. Linden Court and N. 14th St
Phone: (202) 388-4053
I will not spend a great deal of time on this review because Biergarten Haus can be summarized very briefly, overpriced and mediocre. 

Having traveled extensively in Germany, I know good German bier and food when I taste it. A 1/2 liter of draft German beer (less than 17 ounces) was $8, so I did not taste it and drank water instead. We ordered three pretzel rolls ($5) and even though they looked appetizing, they had obviously been “nuked” (microwaved) because the outside was soft and warm, but the inside was as hard as a rock. The accompanying “homemade” mustard was good and spicy.
My wife ordered the Brauernwurst ($14), coming with a single sausage, a potato pancake, and sauerkraut. Everything tasted OK, but you normally get some bread and a salad or soup with German food. That was not the case and my wife, who is rather petite and not a big eater, was still hungry when we returned to our room, eating a yogurt from the fridge.
I had the Jägerschnitzel ($20), a breaded pork cutlet with hunter sauce (a brown, mushroom gravy). The cutlet was of decent proportion, but the breading was soft, not crispy as it should have been, obviously nuked like the pretzels. The hunter sauce was watery and bland, adding little taste to the dish. The fries were the decent, nothing special. I was also a bit hungry afterward, so I also had a snack in our room because we were not about to pay $8 for a nuked apple strüdel.
Coming in at $50 (for two), including tip, this meal was not a good value and an overall disappointment. The only reason they get 4 bombs instead of 3 was the service. The bartender who took and served our order was extremely kind and efficient, and for that we were grateful.
CombatCritic Gives Biergarten Haus 4 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
Four Bombs Equates To:

Read Reviews By CombatCritic:

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TripAdvisor – Top Contributor

Tabelog – Official Judge (Bronze)

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Biergarten Haus Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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Title: Washington, DC: CombatCritic Was In The Haus … And He Wasn’t Happy

Key Words: Biergarten Haus, biergarten, bier, garten, beer, garden, German, Washington Dc, Washington, DC, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, restaurant, menu review, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato

Translation for Civilians: BOHICA = “Bend Over, Here It Comes Again”

Der Essen Platz … A Taste of Bavaria in Central Missouri


Der Essen Platz, Camdenton, Missouri

If visiting the Lake of the Ozarks, as far as restaurants essen1are concerned, I highly recommend a trip back to Camdenton and Der Essen Platz (German for “the Eating Place”) for some excellent and affordable German fare. They have a small, but affordable wine and beer list, and the food is excellent. I started with the Weihenstephaner Korbinian Dopple Bock ($6.50 – .5 litre), a dark, rich, robust beer with hints of chocolate and coffee, it was excellent. The soups are very good and homemade. I tried the German tomato soup which was better than most tomato soups, but nothing I would order again. The schnitzel dishes are amazing.  I had the schnitzel cordon bleu (pork cordon bleu – two breaded cutlets with ham and cheese in the middle, then baked and covered with a cream mushroom sauce) and my wife had the Jaegerschnitzel (pork cutlet served with Hunter’s Sauce, a savory brown gravy made with Jaegermeister and mushrooms).

Dinners are accompanied by soup or salad, warm homemade bread, and vegetables, potatoes, or spaetzel (a German potato dish similar to gnocchi only smaller). The Bavarian wheat loaf is homemade and delicious, so do not be too shy to ask for another! I also tried the German potato pancakes with hunter sauce (normally they come with applesauce, but I prefer the savory pancake with gravy).  essen2

Unfortunately, we were so full by the time dinner was over, we did not have time for dessert, but I am sure they are amazing as well.  Owners Noelle (the chef) and Daniel (front of house) are warm, friendly, and helpful, so do not be afraid to ask questions.  And do n ot forget the view over one branch of the expansive Lake of the Ozarks, a romantic setting for a special occasion or a weekend dinner … Guten Appetit!

CombatCritic Gives Der Essen Platz 9 Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBS ARE GOOD!

9bombs

Title: Der Essen Platz … A Taste of Bavaria in Central Missouri

Key Words: Lake of the Ozarks Camdenton Der Essen Platz German Weihenstephaner Korbinian Dopple Bock schnitzel pork cordon bleu cutlet Jaegermeister spaetzel Bavarian wheat loaf German potato pancakes hunter

Nein … Oops … Nine Dollars For A Glass Of Wine?


Grünauer (Austrian)
101 West 22nd St
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: 816.283.3234
 
Hours:
Mon-Thur 11:30am – 10pm
Fri & Sat 11:30am – 11pm
Sun 11:30am – 9pm
Wunderbar 11:30am – 1am
Happy Hour 3-6pm & 10pm – Close
 
Prices: $$$$$
 
We found Grünauer quite by accident while visiting Lidia’s, one of our favorites in KC and owned by Lidia Bastianich of PBS fame. Grünauer is just west of Lidia’s in the same large parking lot immediately behind Union Station.  The main dining room is large and modern with warm tones, big booths, and plenty of glass. We were well received and escorted to our table. The service excellent, a team of servers and assistants ensure things come and go efficiently with a smile.
 
Wine is a bit pricey, starting at $9 for a glass and bottles from $38, so you may want to stick to beer if on a budget.  The meals are large and filling, so soup, salad, or appetizer are only for those with the biggest appetites. Not knowing this, I ordered the Käse und Biersuppe ($6), a smoked gouda and beer soup that is a decadent as the name implies and a wonderful way to start a meal.
 
My wife ordered the Ksesptzle ($15.00), a rich, creamy spatzle dish made with swiss cheese and topped with crispy onions. The spatzle was cooked to perfection and the sauce thick and flavorful. The crispy onions were more than a garnish, adding some texture and complimentary flavor to the dish. The Ksesptzle was delicious, a large portion of cheesy goodness that satisfied my wife’s sensitive vegetarian palate. 
 
Having lived in Europe for six years and spending a great deal of time in Germany, Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary where good schnitzel is common, I could not resist the Cordon Bleu ($22.00), a breaded pork cutlet stuffed with smoked ham and swiss cheese and pan fried to a golden brown. Nor could I resist ordering a side of their rich and decadent Jäger sauce ($4) made with its namesake Jägermeister, mushrooms, and cream to top my cordon bleu. $22 is a bit steep for pork, especially considering you have to pay $4 extra for a side, in my case mashed potatoes, but the schnitzel was tender and juicy, filled with ham and gooey cheese as advertised.  When topped with the Jäger sauce it was as good as any I have had abroad, and I have had more than a few, but by the time I added the price of the entrée to the potatoes and the sauce the total came to $30, far more than I have ever paid for any similar meal in Europe.
 
Grünauer’s food is excellent, the service flawless, and the environment comfortable, but the prices are a bit excessive.  However, due to the dearth of German restaurants in Kansas City, and Grünauer is as close as you are going to get to authentic German in this area, what other options do we have?  You can drive a couple hours southeast to Camdenton for a meal at Der Essen Platz where the food is just as good and the prices half of Grünauer’s, but that is not plausible.  So, had my cordon bleu meal (including sauce and side) been in the $18 to $24 range with wine starting at a reasonable $6 per glass, I would have given them 8 Bombs, but they are not and I did not … 
 
CombatCritic Gives Grünauer 6 Bombs Out Of 10 … More Bombs Are Better!
 

Grunauer on Urbanspoon

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Title: Nein … Oops … Nine Dollars For A Glass Of Wine?
 
Key Words: Grünauer, Austrian, restaurant, Austria, German, schnitzel, spaetzel, spätzle, wine, beer, menu, food, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, Kansas City, Missouri, MO, Yelp, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon

Gerda’s … Gut Food, Gut Value, Guten Appetit!


Gerda’s German Restaurant & Bakery
5180 Leavenworth St Omaha, NE 

A small, unassuming building on the outskirts west of downtown, with few parking options by the way, Gerda’s did not disappoint as was the case at the Bohemian Cafe the night before.

You enter through the bakery, which is bigger than it needs to be, and into the smaller dining room. The decor is dated, with the flags of Germany (Bavaria, etc) lining one wall, but the place is clean and functional. 

For $19.95 you get a three course meal … a beer of your choice, the Jägerschnitzel (complete with soup or salad, bread, and potato/spätzel), and your choice of dessert. The schnitzel alone is $16, a beer $6, and dessert around $4, so it is quite a value.

The salad was unassuming, a traditional German salad with dressed lettuce, potato salad, and sliced cucumbers, but the soup, a thick, meaty goulash, was superb!

The Jägerschnitzel was abundant and flavorful, a large pork cutlet battered and fried to golden perfection, then doused with brown Jâgermeister and mushroom gravy … YUM! I had the fried potatoes, crispy and well seasoned with salt and paprika, and my wife tried the käse spâtzel, the more traditional cheese covered potato dumplings, both of which were excellent.

The dessert options were extensive, being a bakery after all, but we are so full we got them to go. My wife ordered the Black Forest cake and I had the cherry tart. The cake was creamy and fresh and the tart crisp and yummy, the perfect accompaniment to a well done German meal although consumed several hours after the fact.

The service was friendly and attentive. My only complaints being the lack of a German brün bier or dünkel (dark beer), so I was forced to have an amber(?) Oktobefest that was not bad, not great, and the fact that the menu does not have all that many options (a wiener schnitzel cordon blu would be also be a welcome addition).


CombatCritic Gives Gerda’s 7 Bombs Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBS ARE GUT!




Gerda's German Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Key Words: Gerda’s, German, bakery, restaurant, menu, food, Omaha, Nebraska, NE, schnitzel, Jaegerschnitzel, Jägerschnitzel, goulash, eat, dinner, lunch, CombatCritic, TravelValue


Uwe’s: Great, Filling German Food, Reasonable Prices … NUFF SAID!


Uwe’s German Restaurant

Category: German
31 Iowa Ave
Colorado Springs, CO 80909
(719) 475-1611

Price Range: $$$$$


I have been eating at Uwe’s since the late 1980’s and nothing has changed, not a single thing except the prices and they are still very fair!

Large portions, rich sauces, tender schnitzel, succulent bratwürst, homemade späetzel, fresh bread, delicious salads, frothy beer, and zesty goulash, everything you would expect from a German restaurant, all set the tone for authentic German dining right here in Colorado Springs.

My favorite is the wiener (veal) schnitzel cordon bleu, two breaded veal cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese then baked to gooey perfection, served with a side of Hunter’s (mushroom) sauce, crispy home fries, and veggie of the day. Meals are preceded by fresh pumpernickel bread and an assortment of German potato salad, crisp greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers topped with a light vinaigrette dressing or soup.

The roulade is a traditional Bavarian stuffed cabbage with ground meat, rice, and spices enveloped with fresh cabbage leaves and topped with a light tomato sauce, accompanied by German potato dumplings (späetzel) and red cabbage.

For those with a zest for the spicy, the Hungarian Paprika Schnitzel ($14.25) is a good choice and the Jäegerschnitzel ($14.25), breaded pork cutlets covered with a thick mushroom sauce is always a hearty, filling, rib-sticking meal.

Uwe’s has a nice selection of beer, domestic and import, with the Wärsteiner Dünkel, a dark, frothy, delight being my go-to beer for German meals. Desserts are traditional and inexpensive with apple strüdel ($3.50) and ice cream ($.50) taking center stage for those with voracious appetites and room leftover for a little sweetness.

The service is always good and, as you would expect in a German establishment, efficient with little small talk while remaining friendly and helpful.

CombatCritic Gives Uwe’s German Restaurant 9 Bombs Out of 10 … BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Uwe's German Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Key Words: Uwe’s, Uwe, German, restaurant, 80909, food, schnitzel, weiner, veal, wine, beer, Jäeger, Jäegermeister, Wärsteiner, dünkel, CombatCritic, TravelValue, travel, value, Colorado Springs

Das Alpen Café (Rincón): Pretentious, Overpriced, Microwaved?


Das Alpen Café,
Rincón, Puerto Rico
$$$$$

Dinner Salad
Rincón is better known for big waves, deeply tanned surfers, and pizza joints than it is for fine dining and Das Alpen Café will not change that image. At the Southwest end of the plaza in heart of downtown Rincón, the restaurant is unassuming and having arrived on Three Kings Day (Puerto Rico’s second Christmas) we were not sure it was even open for business based on the sparseness of furnishings inside. If they were going for a minimalist look, they were highly successful.

We arrived shortly after six two nights later and beside the hostess and a waiter, we were the only people in sight. The hostess sat us and quickly returned to her dinner at the bar while typing away on her cell phone. The only thing in the room that looks Bavarian is the flag hanging in front of the kitchen entrance, the tables few and uncovered, and the music a light jazz with no resemblance to anything either Italian or German as is advertised.

Potato Leek Soup ($3.50) and Goat Cheese Tart ($8)
Our server, Jeffrey, was very nice and attentive. I ordered a stout ($9.50), one of only two draught beers on the menu and the closest thing to a Warsteiner Dunkle available and one of the most expensive beers I have consumed, including at overpriced airports. We started with the savory goat cheese tart (described as goat cheese with caramelized onions and basil – $8) and a cup of “crème of potatoes and leek soup” ($3.50). The soup quickly arrived and, while reasonably tasty, was lukewarm and could have used a garnish to add some color. We had to ask for bread, but by the time it finally arrived what was left of my soup was long cold. The tart was an utter disappointment. Looking more like a small, sad piece of quiche than a tart, it had obviously been “nuked” with the soggy crust separating from the filling and no caramelized onions or basil in sight.

Jägerschnitzel – $20
I had the Jaeger Schnitzel, described as “Hunters Schnitzel, a pork cutlet with white wine and cream reduction with bacon and wild mushroom served with red cabbage and homemade bread dumplings”. As a schnitzel lover, I have eaten schnitzel dozens of times throughout Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and the United States, I was surprised by the size of the cutlet and not in a good way. German schnitzel normally covers a large plate, but the red cabbage dwarfed this one, yet looking massive next to “the” lone dumpling (not “dumplings” as was described on the menu). A little bigger than a Swedish meatball, I had to ration the little dumpling to make it last as long as possible. The hunter sauce was good, a bit too salty, with small pieces of mushroom, minced onion, and bacon, but barely enough to cover the cutlet and none leftover for the dumpling or bread, which was being rationed three small pieces at a time.

Forest Schnitzel – $20
My wife ordered the Forest Schnitzel, a “pork cutlet with Marsala wine and mushroom sauce served with red cabbage and homemade bread dumpling”. Again, the cutlet was small in comparison to every other schnitzel I have ever had, but the Marsala sauce was very good, light, and slightly sweet from the reduction of this fruity wine from the small town in Sicily where it gets its name. She also received one dumpling, slightly larger than mine, and left most of her red cabbage which was sweet and acidic as Bavarian red cabbage should be, but overcooked and soggy.

Das Alpen Café attempts to appear “gourmet” with large prices and small portions, but fails to deliver. German food in general and schnitzel in particular is meant to be consumed in large portions with an abundance of sauce and mushrooms, a large portion of potatoes or spaetzel, and nothing red or soggy on the plate. Granted, Rincón is a tourist area and prices are expected to be a bit higher than small fishing villages like Punta Santiago, but Das Alpen Café left me uninspired in terms of TravelValue.

CombatCritic Gives Das Alpen Café 6 Out of 10 Bombs … BOMBS ARE GUT!

Key Words: Das Alpen Café, alpen, café, Rincón, Ricon, Puerto Rico, puerto, rico, German, Italian, food, dinner, tart, schnitzel, Jaeger, CombatCritic, TravelValue
Jaeger (Jäger) Schnitzel Recipe
Schnitzel
1-pound thin veal or pork cutlets
1/2-teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3-cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-cup fine, dry bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Sauce
1 lb. Mushrooms, washed and cut into bite-size slices
2-3 slices bacon, sliced into small pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2-cup vegetable, beef, or chicken broth
1/2-cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon dried thy
A small bunch parsley, finely chopped
Extra milk as needed
Season each cutlet with salt and pepper (both sides) and let stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. You will need 3 plates, adding flour to the first, eggs to the second, and breadcrumbs to the third. Arrange the plates in a row, close to the stove. Heat the butter and oil in a large, heavy skillet or pan over moderately high heat for about 2 minutes. Coat each cutlet with flour, dunk it in the eggs, and then coat it with breadcrumbs, putting the coated cutlet immediately into the hot skillet. Cook each side for about 3 minutes or until each side is a deep golden brown. Remove the schnitzel and place it on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any extra grease and keep warm in the oven.
Using the same pan as you made the schnitzel in, fry the mushrooms until they begin releasing water. Remove them from the pan and set aside. Add a little butter to the same pan, add onions and bacon, and cook until the onions begin to brown. Add the mushrooms back to the pan, then add the broth, cream, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring mixture up to a simmer and continue until liquid has noticeably reduced (about 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally.
Stir milk into the sauce until the sauce reaches the desired consistency (shouldn’t be too thin). Remove pan from heat, stir in 2/3 of the chopped parsley, and add salt and pepper as needed. To serve, place a schnitzel on a plate and top with the sauce, sprinkling some chopped parsley over the sauce and serve with pan-fried potatoes or spaetzel (spätzel) … ENJOY!