Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fredericksburg - Part 2: Der Lindenbaum

Website: DerLindenbaum.com

If you’re spending any time at all in Fredericksburg, there’s a state law that says you have to eat at Der Lindenbaum. It’s as authentic German cuisine as you can get without using your passport. Ingrid Hohmann graduated from the Hotel and Restaurant School at Maria Laach, a fancy, hotshot cooking school in Europe, before creating Der Lindenbaum. The website doesn’t say why she relocated to the hill country to replicate dishes from the fatherland like Konigsberger Klopse (beef and pork meatballs in a caper sauce) and Rheinischer Sauerbraten (a roast, marinated for a week in a sweet/sour sauce). Perhaps she was fleeing a dark and troubled past or was a leader in a schnitzel smuggling syndicate. Speculation notwithstanding, once she got here, she done herself proud. Der Lindenbaum has been featured in Gourmet Magazine, Southern Living, Texas Monthly, the Houston Chronicle and Austin Magazine.

It is no surprise to those who stayed awake all the way through Schultze Gets the Blues that Texas has a rich history of central European immigration, from the Czecks and Slavs (who brought us kolaches and polka) to the Germans (who brought us carbohydrates and cholesterol).

The special was a pan-fried smoked pork chop with sauerkraut and potato salad. Well, everything comes with sauerkraut and potato salad and spicy mustard, so that goes without saying. We both wanted the special, but if everybody gets the special, then how can we sample other things? We got into a wrestling match over the other option. It came down to choice between a steak and the sausage sampler. But you can get steak anywhere, and this is Der Lindenbaum. We got the sausage. It had bratwurst, knackwurst and something else we didn’t get the name of but that we liked the best. Nice and spicy. Went well with the Bitburger lager on tap.

I was surprised by the pork chop, which was pink like a slice of ham, instead of the typical brown chop I used to seeing. At a half inch thick, it was tender and tasty and went well with or without the mustard. But, for my money, the best thing on the plate was the combination of the sauerkraut and the potato salad, which was sweet. Take a dab of each along with your meat, and it is strangely reminiscent of sweet cornbread. Go figure.

Der Lindenbaum has a large selection of desserts, not surprising since Ingrid started off with a bakery before she expanded to a full menu. However, not wishing to waddle out like the burgermeister and his wife, we refrained and instead toodled down from 312 E Main to 312 W Main and Hondo's to catch Porter Davis.

Next week: Hondo's on Main

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