Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Singing the Bratwurst Blues

The Berghoff Restaurant
17 West Adams St.
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Phone: 312.427.3170

Food: Jewish and German

Ok… One thing has become perfectly clear to SuitOchoCinco on my trip to Chicago… I now know why they call it the “Windy City”… because it blows.

Yet again a native Chicagoan steered me to one of their most famous and storied restaurants. An eatery that is over 112 years old and has a legacy that most I came in contact with could recite.

I mean, anyplace that made it through Prohibition smack dab in the heart of Chicago with Al Capone walking the streets had to be good right?

That is how I ended up at Berghoffs German and Jewish Restaurant and Café.

Flying off of I-90/94 I found myself directly in the center of the city, surrounded by tall buildings and bustling traffic. The city definitely puts to use the billions in tax revenue they forcibly strip from their citizens because this city is very clean (at least the portion I was in was)
My GPS took me straight to Berghoffs door step but there was no parking so I was forced into the seemingly never ending circle of one way streets until I was finally spit out 4 blocks from my destination into a parking garage that was …. $12 PER EACH 45 MINUTES. Amazing. The clock began to tick as the disheveled union drone directed me up the ramp.
Hitting the streets I weaved my way past the Chicago Federal Reserve Building, Federal Bureau of Investigation Building, and US Marshals Building. I have never been taped from so many angels in my life. I literally passed 100 cameras going big brother on me with every turn.

Finally I arrived at Berghoffs doorstep. I stepped thru the 100 year old rotating door and stepped into a piece of history. Wow was it… um… blah. The hostess didn’t even look up so I got her attention. She chauffeured me to the table without so much as a thank you, left the menus on the table and was leaving back to her post before I even arrived at the table.

I didn’t even sit. I went straight to the bar.

See, Berghoffs has its own Kentucky Bourbon and they brew their own beers. I had to check it out. I order a shot of their Kentucky poison and the “tall” (it was just a pint) of their Berghoffs Seasonal brew. The bourbon was not the best I’ve ever had but the idea behind bourbon is to get drunk, so it was perfectly fine. Their Seasonal was really sweet and there is no doubt that you could enjoy just ONE. If I want a daiquiri, I’ll order one.

I sat at my table and struggle to get my servers attention being told by 3 different employees that they couldn’t help me because they were not servers. Finally a very cute young lady showed up at the table.. with the personality of a dish rag. I asked her what Berghoffs was famous for? what was the best thing on the menu…? To which she mumbled “it’s all pretty good.” ----Sigh… Eye roll… aye yaye…
I order the duck quesadilla and the perogies as my appetizer and the Sausage trio as my entrée.
I couldn’t help but notice the “Classic Rahm Schnitzel” that was offered as one of their house specialties, I chuckled as I thought about a dead raw fish and sausage entrée, after all I was in Chicago, the land of Rahm Emmanuel.

The food began to arrive very quickly, the duck quesadillas were two ridiculously small battered duck pieces with cheese, and a salad twice the size of the actual appetizer directly in the middle of the plate, for what little there was, it was awesome, the slow roasted duck was tender and the cheese oozed out as I bit into it.

The Perogies were phenomenal, pan seared sautéed to golden brown perfection and again… piping hot.
So far so good, I was looking forward to my sausage trio with bated breath. I was anticipating a mountain of Sausage on a plate featuring grilled bratwurst, steamed knockwurst and sautéed smoked Thuringer with marinated artichokes and a hearty pile of red skinned potatoes.
Quite the contrary, I got three small sausages with a ¼ cup of veggies in the middle. This was hardly what I expected from a restaurant with such a legacy, alas, it did taste wonderful… all 9 bites.
I headed back to my car to find out the total bill for 1 hour and 40 minutes in the Union run garage, $24… outrageous. (Consequently when I arrived home from Chicago, my car had been in long term parking for 4 days… total bill… $21)

Rating: Would wear the shirt if it was free

1 comment:

  1. Sadly, the Berghoff is no longer what it once was, a decent German restaurant, lunch bar. Several years ago, the owner's daughter took it over, shut it down and re-incorporated. I suspect to eliminate the union waiters, mostly older european men, who knew service. Now its a pale image of what was, and lacks a true identity. Duck quesadilla at a German restaurant???!!!