German fare at Haus Falkenstein hits the spot
Schnitzel hand-breaded and pan fried, just like Oma used to make
Cold beer and savoury schnitzel hit the spot at Haus Falkenstein, according to Edmonton AM's food reviewer Twyla Campbell.
"It's really an experience. These people are staying true to their roots," said Campbell, who said the new German restaurant in Edmonton's west end plucked at her ancestral heartstrings. "They're pretty serious about their schnitzel."
Haus Falkenstein is the work of Silke and Michael Hentschel, a couple who moved to Alberta from northwest Germany.
Their first stop was the small town of Lougheed, where they became the proprietors of the Lougheed Hotel, and its restaurant.
"They took a chance, they arrived," Campbell said during a Friday morning interview with CBC Radio host Mark Connolly. "The building was in really rough shape, it needed a lot of work and the menu was typical burgers. But you can get a burger anywhere, so they changed the menu.
"A lot people grumbled about that and didn't like the change, until they started tasting the schnitzel."
With 300 different kinds of schnitzel on the menu, word got out and hotel restaurant even gained the small Alberta town a mention in the record books for having the largest variety of pan-fried options of the traditional dish.
"People came from miles and miles away to try the schnitzel," said Campbell.
But after seven years in small town Alberta, the Hentschels decided to bring their traditional fare to the big city.
Lougheed's loss, Edmonton's gain, according to Campbell.
She fell in love with the menu, which still includes hundreds of different kinds of lovingly prepared pork — fresh cut, pounded, spiced, and breaded, just like Oma used to make.
"It was really tender and satisfying, and each piece is made to order fresh, never frozen," said Campbell.
"And Micheal is in the back cutting pieces from the loin, and pounding them flat, so you can actually hearing him pounding away in the back as each order gets placed."
But if you're not in the mood for schnitzel, you can try some sausage, soup or steak, or quench your thirst instead.
But Campbell said you won't find any "bland big brews" here, but there are more than a dozen authentic German draughts to wash down your meaty meal.
Haus Falkenstein's 'from scratch' recipes take time so Campbell recommends diners call ahead to give the kitchen time to get a pan of pork prepared for your arrival.
"I would really like to see some people give them a try and take a break from the trendy joints in town."