Some time ago, Chris and I attended the First Annual Chicago Alefest, as you may or may not remember. (I know I remember very little of it. Ahem.) Anyhoo, after we had sat on the steps for a bit and sobered up a mite (he more so than me), we realized that what would make the day perfect was German food. Rather than incur any fees in using the browser on my phone (which I don't really know how to do on a sober day, anyway) I phoned my brother, who lives in California. I had him enter our location on Yahoo! yellow pages, and tell us of the closest German restaurant. See? S-m-r-t.
That restaurant was Christl's German Inn in Palatine, IL, which is, as they say in Jamaican, "raat neeah dee trey-un trox, mon."
As you can see, the place has the look of your Grandma's rec room, with a slightly more enticing aroma. I sat down, and promptly perused the beer menu, because I hadn't already had enough to drink, and I like hangovers so much. I was disappointed by the selection... It seems to me that any great German restaurant ought to have more of a bevy of brews. Still, I ordered a Weiss beer with a lemon, and when it arrived it was like a Christmas Carol goose ("Whut, the wun as big as me?"), and had a lemon in it. I was happy, and Chris resigned himself to being my designated driver. For the next 40 years.
Next up, I was in the mood for liver. I know, many normal people live their whole lives without ever slipping into "the liver mood," but I love it. Particularly in paté form, when it comes with boiled eggs, an array of crackers, and onions. Yum.
Next up was the soup course. This took some time, as it seemed that Christl's was having some type of server crisis. Our waiter resembled Harry Potter, and was just as adept at vanishing. He told us, "I don't usually wait tables. I don't know what I'm doing. Someone called in sick today." Looked like the whole dining area was up to him and another server. Still, we had our light buzz and our liver, so we were taking our time, anyway.
Chris got the soup-du-jour, which was... well, I don't remember what it was. I want to say "goulash soup?" But I did not like it. It was incredibly salty. WAY too salty. Chris didn't mind.
I got the liver dumpling. And you know that liver I had before? Turns out -- not enough. It was delish. And I know my soup looks scarier than his, but I really enjoyed it.
And look... Salad too! Though each course was about ten to fifteen minutes in coming, I was chatting away and when something else did arrive, it was sort of like, "Oooh! More stuff! Goody." The bleu cheese dressing was a bit mayonnaise-y for my taste, but it was just a true, old-school salad.
Now we were awaiting the main course. Chris and I usually get different things and share... But we both really wanted the Schlacht Platte, which has a
And boy did we wait. And wait. And wait. While waiting, we had more time to take in the decor:
Finally, the poor frantic manager noticed me glaring at him, and ran to the kitchen and personally delivered our food. And oh man. Was it ever worth the wait.
Overall, I think I will assume that the service fiasco was a one-time thing and try the place again. Anyway, it is not the type of place you go in a rush, but one in which you enjoy several courses, a huge beer, and some conversation. It had a lot of value, down-home atmosphere, and great flavor. I don't think everything we were served was authentic German, but sort of a mix of an American eatery with some real authenticity. Whatever it was, it was tasty to me.
And the leftover potatoes, sausages and ham made a great mix with scrambled eggs the next day.