Monday, August 11, 2014

Guest Post: Road Trip: Schmidt's Sausage Haus — Columbus, OH

Sacha here! You might remember me from Erin's review of Spice Nation. I am also known as @zigged.

Our 2014 family road trip took us east to visit my dad in New Jersey + enjoy adventures in Ocean City, MD, and New York City. The itinerary I planned included stops at restaurants that are reported to be culinary gems. This time: Schmidt's Sausage Haus.

Generally, when driving to/from the East Coast to visit my family & friends, we don't take meal breaks. We pack sandwiches and fruit and other snacks to nibble on in the car and, other than requisite stops for gas and bathroom breaks, we GO GO GO. On the way there it's because we're excited to start our vacation. On the way back it's because we're anxious to get home. You know what I mean? But this time we squeezed in a Hershey's chocolate factory tour the morning we left and dinner on the road.

I found this place when I looked up best restaurants in Columbus and then narrowed my choices to places near I-70. I put a call out on Twitter and Tracey @BergFulton confirmed it was a good place to go. The Huz loves German cuisine so I figured it would be an easy sell after a long time in the car. It was.

The place was bustling on a Sunday evening. I was told 2535 minutes when I put our name in at 5:40 PM but we were seated within 15 minutes. It's a very old-country restaurant in German Village that has a little candy shop across the street where you can see fresh fudge being made. (The Girls got samples. "It was still warm!") The weather was pleasant and people were milling about, waiting for tables and taking photos.

I got the haus saurbraten und gravy ($13.75). This was marinated lean beef covered in gingersnap gravy served over German spätzle noodles, and a double order of potato pancakes on the side. (I shared one order with The Kid.) It may be a German classic but it was a stretch for me—I don't normally do gravy. The meat was tender, the gravy was savory and gingery, and the spätzle was buttery and chewy, so it all went well together. The potato pancakes were the size of silver dollars, seasoned and cooked perfectly, and served with a chunky, delicious applesauce that I suspect was made in house.

The Huz got a Bahama burger special ($9). This was a thick slice of grilled Bahama Mama patty (hickory-smoked beef & pork sausage with secret seasoning) served on a toasted pretzel bun with Swiss cheese, red onion, tomato, and a pickle + German potato salad on the side. He added some of the grainy mustard that was in a jar on the table. He thought the sandwich and potato salad were wunderbar.

The Kid got a chicken spätzle salad with Parmesan peppercorn dressing on the side ($11.50). This was grilled chicken served on authentic German pasta over mixed lettuce with fresh vegetables. The chicken was grilled well, tender and flavorful. I thought the addition of spätzle on salad was interesting. She enjoyed it.

The Honorary Kid got Alpine chicken spätzle ($12.75). This was a sliced grilled chicken breast served on German spätzle noodles with onions, peppers, and mushrooms, topped with creamy garlic-basil sauce, plus applesauce and redskin smashed potatoes on the side. Again, the chicken was cooked well. The sauce had a good flavor and the spätzle was as good as everyone else's. The amount of veg surprised us all, though, including her, and she declared it too many to eat. There was a ton of peppers, onions, and mushrooms under that sauce! She did enjoy the potatoes and applesauce.

Schmidt's also has a buffet option. We were seated in the pub area and couldn't see it but The Huz noticed patrons walking around with plates of food. He would have had a very hard time controlling his portions were we to choose the buffet, given his preference for this cuisine. Speaking of which, The Girls and I were wide-eyed at the humongous cream puffs in the pastry case.

I can see why this is a popular place. The quality of the food is high. German is not my favorite so I don't know that I'm an excellent judge of flavor. I did like our meal and our experience (including our Welsh waiter) although I can't be sure that it wasn't influenced by the chance to be out of the car for a while.

Schmidt's Sausage Haus
240 East Kossuth Street
Columbus, OH, 43206

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