The Wirtshaus Restaurant at 17 Hampstead Street in Methuen was our latest attempt to find decent German food in New England.
This one gets the ol' "nice try" review although this one was a better attempt than most with some very good things mixed in with the misguided.
Just a general observation and question to all restaurants serving red cabbage...
Is it THAT hard to make it yourself? MUST you use a can?
For the appetizer, I had the cabbage soup special. Slices of cabbage in a peppery broth. Not sure what else to say here - that's what it was!
We all had salad, which was the good ol' iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onion etc. with house sweet and sour dressing. Disappointing and very un-German.
For the meal, I had the "German sampler" and my wife had the roulade.
The roulade was made exactly as it should be with eye of round beef thinly sliced wrapped amidst the vegetable of the day. Excellent! Unfortunately, the thin gravy was definitely American all the way.
The sauerbroten and wienerschnitzel samples were "New England beef" all the way - tough and chewy. I'm of the opinion at this point that unless you're in a premier steakhouse that's ready to make special trips to get the best beef, don't bother ordering it unless you're outside New England. However the Spaetzle was perfect. The red cabbage was embarrassing. We'd never bring my wife's German cousins in to eat that.
The restaurant was small and intimate (10 tables total I believe), a great warm atmosphere, great for my dad's and my wife's birthdays. The beer bar was pure Bavarian style with a wide and excellent selection. Unfortunately, the waitstaff's attitude when they figured out we were non-drinkers was unfortunate, and we will probably not return because of this reason alone.
The prices for entry, salad and appetizer were low. I liked that!!!
Another thing that bothered my wife was that there was not a soul there that spoke a single word of German.
On the whole, it was OK, but our favorite place for German food (and it really is Swiss-German) remains the William Tell Inn in Alton, NH.