LISLE – There are two ways to have an authentic German dinner.
One is to spend thousands of dollars and take an extensive trip through Germany's Bavarian Alps. The other option is to make a short drive to The Bavarian Lodge in Lisle, which was the more convenient option my companion and I chose recently.
Pulling up to the restaurant provides authenticity, as the wood-framed stucco exterior just screams Bavaria.
We arrived at the busy dinner hour on a weekday, but we hardly had to wait before we were led into the large main dining room, seated in booth, and started perusing the menu and the surroundings. The authentic look on the outside of the building carried over to the inside as dark wooden tables and wood paneled walls in the dining room gave the impression of entering a German mountain lodge.
For those looking to whet their whistle, The Bavarian Lodge has an extensive list of beers from all over the world, including rare offerings from Belgium, Denmark and Germany.
After quickly glancing at the extensive entrees on the menu, my companion and I decided to focus on the appetizers as we clearly needed more time to make our dinner selections.
The duck confit kolachky with goat cheese sounded absolutely delectable, but the scotch egg was just too interesting to pass up. A hard boiled egg coated in sausage, breaded, fried, and served with brown mustard, it struck a nice balance between the richness of the egg, the flavor of the seasoned breading and the pleasant tartness of the mustard. A one of a kind item, our only regret was we didn't order two!
When it came time to choose an entree, my companion and I both had trouble deciding. My companion was eyeing the chicken paprikash but couldn't go away from the choose two option with wiener schnitzel and a bratwurst. The schnitzel was nice and crispy while the bratwurst simply melted-in-your-mouth perfect, and the mashed potatoes and homemade applesauce on the side were outstanding accompaniments. The red pepper vinaigrette dressing on the side salad provided a tasty take on a restaurant standby.
Nearly every dish sounded delectable to me, including the Hungarian goulash, Bavarian meatloaf, schnitzel sandwiches – even the burgers sounded tantalizing. In the end I chose the chicken paprikash, its rich and savory sauce over perfectly cooked thin chicken breasts with creamy mashed potatoes is the quintessential comfort food for the cold days ahead. The cream of potato soup beforehand was a hearty starter.
For those not looking to partake in the German cuisine, the menu includes other options like a chicken cordon bleu sandwich, fish and chips and BBQ ribs.
My companion and I saved room for dessert, and the choice was clear. The apple strudel was lightly sweet, warm and full of flavor, like a delicious German take on a traditional American apple pie.
Our server, April, couldn't have been more accommodating to our needs, and after we had ordered our dessert she confided that it was her personal favorite.
After we left, my companion and I decided that if we ever feel the need for knackwurst, the pull of chicken paprikash, or the desire for dram of German beer, we will take the short trip to The Bavarian Lodge.
The Mystery Diner is a newsroom employee at Suburban Life Media. The diner's identity is not revealed to the restaurant staff before or during the meal. Only positive dining experiences will result in published reviews.
The Bavarian Lodge
WHERE: 1800 Ogden Ave., Lisle
HOURS: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Wednesday to Friday; 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. a.m Saturday; 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday
DRESS CODE: Casual
INFO: 630-241-4701, bavarian-lodge.com