Sunday, October 08, 2017

Eating up the Hill: Hunter Schnitzel at Bier Markt

Down the block from the office on Sparks Street is a franchise of Bier Markt, which I would probably visit more often if I liked beer. But I don't. Sometimes, however, duty calls, particularly during patio season, and I visit this Belgian-inspired restaurant. And I'll just say, there's a reason they don't call it Food Markt.

I'm sure the beer is great. Lots of varieties of beer. Dark beer. Light beer. Micro this, macro that. I don't know. Like I said, I don't like beer. I do like food though, and Bier Markt always leaves be underwhelmed.

It's not that the food is bad, necessarily. It's well prepared. It's just that it's both pricey, and limited in variety. I always seem to be left with just a few reasonable possibilities, and it often comes down to the schnitzel.

Now I lived in Germany for four years, and went back for another three months on exchange during high school, so I love my German food. Jaeger Schnitzel with Spaetzle was my go-to when the family went out for dinner. I remember my Cola Light used to cost more than my Dad's beer, but that's Germany for you.

They do an approximation of this at Bier Market, but it's not quite right. Maybe the Belgian version is a bit different, I don't know.

You start by choosing your schnitzel, chicken or pork. Pork is the more authentic choice, but either is fine. You can choose two sides from a list that includes fries, fingerling potatoes, Emmental cheese spaetzle, mashed potatoes, cabbage or market veggies. Not sure how authentic a choice mashed potatoes is, but the rest are reasonable. I go for the spaetzle and the market veggies.

Finally, you can choose your sauce. Or go sauceless, I suppose, but that would just be weird. A squeeze from a lemon wedge is an authentic choice, which I guess inspired the Capers and Lemon option. Tomato Jam does not seem German or Belgian to me, but Stout Pan Gravy would work. I go for the Hunter Sauce through, expecting the mushroomy Jaeger Sauce of my youth.

Instead, it's more like a mushroom gravy without the mushrooms. There are onions and cherry tomatoes (I don't recall the latter from schnitzels gone by) but no mushrooms. It's in enough quantity to complement the well-prepared and crispy cutlet, but the lack of mushrooms is a glaring omission.

On to the sides. The market veg is market veg. It's fine. It's vegetables, They're cooked properly. Besides whatever nutrients, it's less carbs to put me to sleep two hours later.

As for the spaetzle, it's fine, but it's nothing at all like what I remember. They sometimes have spaetzle in the Parliamentary Restaurant too, and it's also made like this. Small pieces of noodle instead of the long, stringy, more spaghetti-like formations I recall from Germany. Do they do it differently in Belgium? I never really experienced Belgian cuisine. I think we stopped for breakfast once on our way to catch a ferry in Holland, but that's about it.

Anyway, filling if pricey at $24, and tasty enough if not particularly authentic.

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