I love food and I love beer. When a festival can marry those two, well, obvs I’m sold. A few weeks back one of the chef’s from The Radler here in Chicago was doing a food demo at the Deschutes Street Pub event and those little beer infused sausages were the pimpshitbombdiggity. I made a mental note to visit the restaurant when I got a chance. But, ya know, that was a drunk promise to myself and I sort of forgot about it. A few days ago I saw a facebook ad for The Radler and wrote a real reminder to myself to stop by for some Oktoberfest specials.
First, I’d like to mention that The Radler includes a service charge as a tip replacement. Personally, I think this is a great practice and wish more restaurants did it. They believe their employees should be compensated with a livable hourly wage plus it keeps me from doing drunk math. Everyone wins.
Oktoberfest at The Radler
I stopped in on weekday after work so it wasn’t very crowded and I had plenty of space for myself and the bag of beer I bought on my way there. My first objective was beer and then of course food. They have a binder full of beer. I repeat, BINDER full of beer. This is my kinda place. I’m not super familiar with German beers but I do know that Weihenstephaner is the oldest brewery so this seemed like a solid choice to go with. I got the Vitus which is a weizenbock. The description read “saturated with fine yeast and a creamy foam” which sold me. There was also something about fruits and what not. Also, 7.7%abv so it had that going for it. It did not disappoint.
As soon as I started reading through the menu I quickly realized I actually knew basically nothing about German food. I had to phone a friend and ask the waitress for her suggestions. She suggested the pretzel but I was feeling a little more adventurous so she offered the currywurst and I was like yeahhhh maybe not THAT adventurous. Currywurst has sliced up sausage and fries topped with curry ketchup, and while I do love the meat and potatoes I’m not a fan of curry so I had to pass (hopefully someone else orders this next time I go and will let me try some).
I decided on the cheesy spaetzle and knockwurst. The cheesy spaetzle was a real stand out for me. It’s like mac’n’cheese (which I LOVE!) but creamier and if I’m not mistaken I think they may have added a dash of dill which was a really pleasant surprise. Spaetzle is a soft egg noodle that when prepared with the cheese was almost reminiscent of dumplings. I might try and make this one at home and hopefully I can do it justice.
It should be noted they have 9 different sausage varieties. I’ll be back for the others on another day but the knockwurst I had was fantastic. The sausage itself was pork with beer and smoked, then topped with caramelized onions, almonds, pickled carrots and fennel. It had that snap when you bite into it and the onions made for a perfect marriage of taste. My only regret is that I didn’t leave enough room for dessert, which are custom pies from Bang Bang Pie Shop, so I ordered one to take home and enjoyed it for breakfast the next day. Go ahead and judge me, but German Chocolate pie is totally an acceptable form of nourishment to start the day.
I wish that I had gone with a big group so that we could have split some of the bigger platters and I could try more things but all around it was a solid experience. I didn’t know I loved German food, but I do. Now I need to go see what other Oktoberfest shenanigans I can get into before it ends…