I enjoy a good schnitzel from time to time. Ms. Waffle absolutely loves them.
A schnitzel is a thinned, pounded flat piece of meat, usually breaded lightly and fried. Originating from Austria, the schnitzel is traditionally made with veal, but can also be made of pork, chicken, mutton, beef, turkey or even reindeer.
So when I heard about Schnitzel Works, I figured I would check it out. I made the mistake of mentioning the spot to Ms. Waffle, who pledged to kick me in the Schnitzel if I tried it without her.
Tucked in the industrial park on Cyrville road, you could easily miss Schnitzel Works if you weren’t looking for it. A classic lunch spot, it is not open for dinner, except for Saturday. The restaurant is small, maybe 20 seats. It has a bit of a dinner feel to it, very casual.
Mel considered the Around the World Sandwich menu, which seems to be the most popular section of the meny. 15 different types of Schnitzel sandwich for a single price – $11 for pork, $13 for chicken. She looked at the Spanish (with sautéed onion, hot peppers, tomato and cheese melt) or the classic Austrian (with lemon), but ended up settling on the Russian (with horseradish and hot mustard). Feeling hungry and perhaps feeling a little gluttonous, she also ordered a side of Spätzle ($6).
Spätzle is a German egg noodle, close to a dumpling. When well done, it has a great chewy texture. And these were well done. They were soft, buttery, delicious. And it was a huge portion.
The sandwiches was huge. On a kaiser bun, two pieces of schnitzel – basically a regular schnitzel cut in half before being fried – making for a piled high sandwich. A good dollop of a tasty horseradish, and a good squirt of hot mustard, garnished with parsley. To complete the sandwich, lettuce-tomato-pickle. That side of the sandwich usually comes with Mayo, but Mel asked for it on the side.
I decided to go with a Schnitzel Platter instead of a sandwich. I settled on the traditional Wiener Schnitzel. In Austria and Germany, a Wiener Schnitzel must be made of veal. But this option is not available here, sadly, so I settled for pork.
A slightly spiced light breading with a hint of lemon, served with a lemon wedge with parsley, this particular platter came with two sides: Bratkartoffeln (German pan roasted potatoes) and Speck Kraut (Sauerkraut with diced bacon).
The Schnitzel was very good, despite the fact it was broken in half. With a squeeze of lemon, you had crispy light breading, creating a nice contrast with the tender meat. Now, it wasn’t as good as Schnitzel in Frankfurt, but it was by far the best Schnitzel I ever had in Ottawa.
The Speck Kraut was very good, it had a rustic feel to it – clearly home made. You can tell by the consistency. The fermented cabbage still had a good chew, which was enhanced by the cubed cured pork, adding a good saltiness to the side. The Bratkartoffeln were good, if a little greasy. Good quality yellow potatoes, well cooked, with onions and parsley.
Mel finished her sandwich, with a little help from her friend. If she enjoyed the Spätzle, she was also happy I was there to help her out.
When we were done, we eyed the nearby counter, where the home made baked goods were on display.
We thought better of it, and left with the intent of coming back soon.