Review: Wunderbar!

I really need to get to Covington more often– okay, though it seems like I’m there all the time based on my posts, I’m really not.  I don’t know why there’s some sort of magical force field around the river, but there shouldn’t be.  There are so many tiny, delicious gems over there, and Wunderbar is one of them.

Cincinnati, despite its German heritage and its German influence that can still be found in our food (we are a city that likes their pork products and has pretty decent taste in sausage, after all), there are few German restaurants.  Mecklenburg Gardens, Hofbrauhaus, the tents at Oktoberfest– that’s about it.  Wunderbar! is a much needed addition to the German food scene in the area.

Wunderbar! is located on 12th Street in Covington, which is an area I haven’t explored much yet (but am happy to return to).  The bar itself has that dark, 60s feel– if I squint, I can almost see my grandfather in the back, drinking a Wiedemann with his friends.  That wouldn’t ever happen, however, since Wunderbar! is non-smoking.  Thank goodness.  Oh, it’s kid-friendly too– they can even play in the sawed-off VW Bus attached to the back wall.

You order at the bar and the bartender delivers your food to you– unless, of course, you eat at the bar, as we did.  The menu is a simple chalkboard menu which changed while we were there.  Carla, from Hoperatives, who picked this place out for lunch suggested I try either the schnitzel or the sausages.  But the sauerbraten sounded good too.  So many decisions!

I settled on the schnitzel and Carla got the sausage platter.  The schnitzel reminded me of my grandmother’s– crisp outside, moist inside, with the same kind of pale brown gravy that she made.  The brussels sprouts were quite unlike hers– not overcooked, with just a bit of caramelization (and, I believe, they are vegetarian).  I got some sweet mustard to eat with the dense, freshly baked roll.  They make their mustards in house too– they have everything from horseradish to a wine-based mustard.

I tried a bite of Carla’s currywurst (she also got a tarragon sausage), and it was reminiscent of the currywurst I’ve had in Munich but have never managed to get in Cincinnati.  The pretzel dumplings were interesting– a cross, texturally, between a dumpling and a spaetzle, covered in the same gravy that accompanied my schnitzel.  It seemed slightly under seasoned for my tastes, but was a nice twist on a traditional German side.

They have a great beer selection, both bottled and draft.  I had a “girly” (12 oz) Hofbrauhause Hefeweizen with my meal.  They also have a “manly” size to satiate a bigger thirst, as well as a full bar and a small wine selection.

We each grabbed an Apple-Nutella strudel to take home.  This was the least successful of the dishes– the pastry was more like pie dough than flaky puff pastry and a little undercooked.  The filling was good– a combination of fresh apples and Nutella.

I’ll be back– I need to try the pretzels and sauerbraten, and get a little taste of Cincinnati’s German heritage outside of Oktoberfest.

Wunderbar! on Urbanspoon

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