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Restaurants & Bars 12

Jagerhaus: True Love

WilliamBeckett | Apr 30, 201501:09 PM

Ah Jagerhaus...is this the most underrated restaurant in all of Southern California? Perhaps.

This place makes everything themselves, and never boasts about that fact. You can literally eat bratwurst handmade by a German grandmother here (purveyor Sandra). Forget the artisanal places like Wurstkuche, and its knockoff, this place has leaner brats with explosive porcine flavors, and proper snap in their casings. If you have never understood how a simple sausage can be breathtaking in its simple glory, this is a place you need to go to. If you think you don't like bratwurst, the version at Jagerhaus will make you realize that you just don't like the half-assed versions produced at most places. Though they are often seen as bland, pedestrian sausages, the version here are so deliciously meaty, and well-spiced that you could be forgiven for imagining that the blandness of bratwursts is nothing but a myth. Indeed, Jagerhaus mostly demolishes any notion that German food is a "bland" food, as everything here screams with flavor. The closest to bland that the place comes are probably the fresh rolls that come out hot, white and pumpernickel. But the pumpernickel is hearty and robust with the deep pungency that pumpernickel ought to have, so really the accusation could mostly only attach itself to those hot white rolls, yet even they display a wonderfully hearty country flavor to them.

The sauerkraut that you should order with the brats is beyond compare. Of course it's made entirely in house, and it's served warm. The sour, savory glories of this stuff are unknown to most people, who have probably only had overly crispy, poorly pickled, and too astringent and one-note versions from jars or places without a German grandmother directing its production. I am currently trying to convince Sandra to make sauerkraut pie for the dessert menu, because it would be absolutely sublime if it were made with this stuff. The sauerkraut here is truly the stuff of gods. When taken with some of the explosive house-made mustard it becomes so good you could eat a bowl of the stuff by itself and be completely satisfied.

The wiener schintzel here is the only version I have had that feels like a serious schinitzel in all of California. It's impossibly thin, impossibly tender, with just enough crispy coating to stick to the meat, and not overpower the delicate flavors of the veal. It truly does not need anything to enhance it but a pinch squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt perhaps. I found the flavors here equal to the massive veal chop served, for example, at Scopa Italian roots for 2.5x the cost (but you admittedly get more meat at Scopa, and it's a different thing, I am merely drawing a quality comparison here).

The spätzle are the best I have ever had anywhere. I usually get a double order with the schnitzel, as we did today. They are chewy, yet pliant, slightly crispy from being tossed on the grill, and come with a gravy so meaty, musky, and intimately savory that it would make most of the hardcore Montreal folks weep with joy.

The potato pancakes are also handmade, and should be taken both with the house-made applesauce and thick sour cream. Elsewhere, potato pancakes resemble hashbrowns for the most part. At Jagerhaus you learn why they are potato PANCAKES, because they actually have a griddled crisped edge, and yet a kind of chewy, moist interior that is only found on properly done pancakes. They are delicately spiced, fluffy, and crispy. The applesauce sings a hymn of praise to the essence of apple, being neither too smooth, nor overly chunky, and the sour cream (must ask for this) adds a creamy, sour contrast that is quite pleasant. For extra enjoyment add in some sauerkraut to each bite! Truly sublime.

Wash all of this down with fresh tapped, simple German beers at rock bottom prices, and possibly a bottle of the most reasonably-priced Eiswein anywhere (sadly they were out of bottles when we went, but should be getting more soon!), and there is hardly a better restaurant anywhere. If this place had an official PR team they would have gaudy articles in eater about how they only use organic, high-quality meat, and how everything is made in-house, and waiters that consistently told you how great their food is because of these facts. But at Jagerhaus, you will never hear any of this. No boasting, no pushing, no elaborate plating... they just let the sublimity of their flavors, and the pure love they put into everything they make tell the story for them. Every time I eat here I question why I eat anywhere else, because I feel that food cannot really attain heights much higher than this

All this love, all this wonder, for just under $30/person including tax/tip and drink. Absolutely astounding.

Jagerhaus,
Wurstküche Restaurant,
Wurstküche Restaurant Venice,
Scopa Italian Roots
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