>> Thursday, June 30, 2011
Lately I’ve been daydreaming about Europe again (this happens a lot..the daydreaming and thinking of Europe). I’m really itching to book my next European vacation and so it goes that I’ve started to reminisce about the times I’ve been there in the past. My husband likes to bring up certain parts of our trips especially ones that happened during Oktoberfest. Those who have heard these stories know exactly what I’m talking about, I’ll keep those to myself for now since I don’t need more people privy to these instances (maybe if you ask me in person I’ll tell you one day). Of course there are other memories of Oktoberfest that were amazing, such as the thousand among thousands of happy drunken people from all over the world crowded in to the enormous drinking tents all over the grounds. The delicious pretzels, schnitzels and beer served or the remarkable costumes worn by most of all people roaming the grounds. So you could imagine how excited I was when I realized there was a much needed new Bavarian restaurant opening up in Calgary. The best part, they have a beerhall, I wonder if anybody will show up in a lederhosen?
Atmosphere: Dependent on where you’re situated at Wurst the ambiance could be quite contrary. The spacious upstairs dining room provides a homey woodsy interior with large trees and lots of natural light reminisce of dining on a patio, which is truly refreshing and great for families. Downstairs is the beerhall, with long wooden tables evocative of European pubs and perfect for groups looking for a more casual dining experience.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $30+
Food and Wine (and Beer): Since I was so excited about the food (I’ve been waiting for a Bavarian restaurant in Calgary for a long time now), I already had a good idea what I wanted to eat (thank you internet!). It was just a matter of getting our drinks and menus first. I guess in hindsight I probably could have done without the menu (that’s how excited I was).
My husband and I both started with a German beer. He opted for a draft Konig Ludwig Weissbier (on tap! What?), a honey color, it’s a nice light wheat beer with a clean malt taste. I decided on the Lowenbrau, a classic German beer from Munich. It’s a light pale yellow lager, pretty mild with hints of grassiness. My only wish was that they had this beer on tap like the Konig, which always makes the beer smoother.
All the tables have a little bowl of pickled veggies (beets, carrots, radishes) for the guests to nibble on while they wait for their meals, a great appetizer in itself, with a perfect balance between sour and sweet. We both really enjoyed them and the best part was they will refill them when you’re out (if you ask nicely)! After we ordered, they also brought out some complimentary rye bread with salted butter and olive oil. At this point I seriously thought this restaurant was after my own heart. The bread was moist with a slight sweetness contrasting the salty butter and oil. It was great that I could choose to spread the butter or just dip the bread in to the olive oil.
When our meal came, the Frantlz’s Mixed Grill did not disappoint. The platter came with all of the following items – Kassler Pork Loin, House Made Sausages, Cured Pork Belly, Hand Carved Prime Rib, Smoked Pork Hock, Sauerkraut, Spatzle, Fresh Shredded Horseradish, German Fried Potatoes and hot mustard. Phew, I’m tired just listing everything. Initially we were debating between the seafood platter and the meat platter, but we’re glad we ended up with the meat, since it is a grill restaurant, hot food all the way!
After trying a bit of each item, there were several that I found I kept going back to. My favourite was the pork chop, surprising since a lot of restaurants normally provide dry chops, but this was the best pork chop I’ve had…ever. It was succulent, moist, juicy and full of flavour. I probably would have been happy just eating the pork chop all night. Ok, the spatzle was equally as amazing. Perfectly salted and cooked just right, they were a great compliment to the platter. My husband enjoyed the crispy skin on the pork hock and how moist the meat remained. The prime rib was also very tender and juicy, cooked to a perfect medium rare.
Everything went well with the hot mustard that was provided, which had a nice sweetness and was full of spices, not hot at all. I can see how Wurst will be bringing mustard back! The only slight disappointment was the sausages, which ended up being a bit dry although it did look very juicy, it just lacked a bit of fat. One of the sausages also looked and tasted suspiciously like a hot dog, which I thought was a bit random. I was surprised when my husband actually said that the pork belly was a bit fattier than he’d like, since he loves bacon. So I took his word for it and went back to the pork chop instead (wish this was a dish on the menu).
At this point, we were beyond full, but once our server mentioned that the dessert of the day was Apple strudel with vanilla bean ice cream, I was doomed. When it arrived, I asked for extra ice cream. Since one scoop of vanilla ice cream is never enough ice cream for the dessert that it accompanies. The crust of the strudel was a bit tough and needed to be a bit flakier, the apples were nice, since they were not overly sweet. However the vanilla bean ice cream was scrumptious (went well with the espresso)! I couldn’t stop eating it and left most of the strudel for my husband.
We ended up switching over to wine to accommodate our protein heavy meal. We stuck with a European wine and went with the San Jacupo Chianti 2008. It was a bit tarter than the Chianti’s that I’m used to with a nice light ruby red color. However it did add a pleasant acidity to our meal. It was very well priced as well.
My Picks: Frantzl’s Mixed Grill (specifically the spatzle and pork chop)
Overall: We had an amazing time at Wurst and ended up staying the entire evening. The service we received was amazing. Our server was warm and friendly. She reminded me of all the great people that we met at Oktoberfest while we were in Germany and made me miss Europe even more. At least for now, I know I can always go to Wurst for a quick European pick me up, when needed. Who knows, maybe somebody will show up in a lederhosen one day, hopefully it’s not me.
Wurst Restaurant and Beerhall
2437 4th Street SW