I'll admit, I've never actually attended a true Oktoberfest. I'd heard about the ones smattered across Europe in celebration of Germany each fall, but even growing up in Dallas I never had the opportunity to attend the city's most celebrated and cultural events. When I received the invitation to dine at the Oktoberfest-themed Chamberlain's Brau House last Thursday evening, I jumped at the chance.
Addison Oktoberfest is a weekend-long celebration of all things German. Polka dancing, Paulaner beer and German food has attracted over 70,000 people to the city for over 23 years. This year the festival will take place Sept. 18-21st, and our 3-course German dinner was just a taste of what to expect.
Chamberlain's, the namesake to award-winning Dallas Chef Richard Chamberlain, has a nation-wide reputation of being a first-rate steakhouse with consistent quality, a warm ambiance and impeccable service. Its sister restaurant, Chamberlain's Fish Market Grill, is of equal high regard. So it came as no surprise to me (or anyone else in the room, for that matter) that their transformation of the back room into a full Bavarian Brau House experience was seamless.
Upon sitting down, we were greeted with three delicious Paulaners: a Lager, a Hefe-Weizen and of course, the Oktoberfest Marzen. The beers were plentiful and scattered across the table, just a hint of how much will actually be flowing next month. Each course was paired with its own beer, but I took an affinity to the light and flavorful Hefe-Weizen early on.
Appetizers consisted of smoked rainbow trout with horseradish cream and pickled onions, house made Bavarian Ham and German mustard, and a cucumber, tomato and dill salad. During the entire meal, I had to remind myself that I wasn't in fact dining in Germany, but if I closed my eyes it felt pretty darn close. The fish was perfectly cooked, as was the authentic-tasting Bavarian Ham. The three dishes complemented each other rather well. In true Chamberlain's form, the plating and presentation was nothing less than beautiful.
I don't often mull over meals I ate two and three days later, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm still dreaming about the trio of German Sausages. They came with a Bavarian braised pork in roasted onion potatoes and Paulaner. I'll first mention the care and detail that went into the pork. It was braised for five full hours. While I'm sure the pork was a delectable delicacy to some, it played runner up to the smoked bratwurst, veal and veal bratwurst sausages, served in a bed of house made sauerkraut and bacon and seed sauce ("Because Bacon!" we all shared a good laugh over that). Seriously, though. I may be going to Oktoberfest this year just to eat the smoked bratwurst sausage again.
What little room in my stomach I had left at the end of this glorious trip to Germany went to a first-rate dessert. We finished dinner off with a cinnamon apple strudel doused with salted caramel sauce. They pulled out every stop for this evening and I felt utterly spoiled, wondering again why I had decided to take Germany off the list of my weekend trips while studying abroad.
I decided that I'd gotten pretty darn close at Chamberlain's and I eagerly await the start of Addison's epic Oktoberfest on September 18th.