May 13th, 2010 by Brian Schwartz – Comments (13)
Great German food in a great setting. The Germans have a word for it: Gemütlichkeit. That’s what they call a cozy, friendly, welcoming place, a place where you can check your worries at the door, walk in, feel like family. What does such a place look like? Well, it looks like this:
You just have to picture it full of happy diners, beer steins lifted, and I’m sure Siegi’s is like that toward the dinner hour. Oklahomans are no strangers to Gemütlichkeit. It’s empty in the photo because I and my friends got to Siegi’s just before 4 PM, at the slow end of the lunch hour. I’ve wanted to visit Siegi’s for years. It’s a rare thing to find an artisanal sausage maker in the middle of America. As we crept along the traffic-clogged horror of 81st Street, we could see the bright red tower of Siegi’s beckoning us like a beacon. In through the door, definitely gemütlich inside. A spacious retail store, case after case filled with those lovely sausages (about $5 per pound), made on the premises using Siegi’s 100-year-old family recipes, as well as cheeses, steaks, German groceries. Then on to the restaurant.
When I saw the menu it seemed more Austrian than German to me. Here are all the specialties you associate with a lazy meal in Vienna. (And indeed Siegi himself, Siegi Sumaruk, came here 45 years ago from Austria.) And so we ordered a sampling, and the first to come out was this:
Goulash ($7), that famous Austro-Hungarian beef stew, rich and peppery. And lovely, chewy, flavorful potato pancakes ($6) with sour cream and applesauce. And then the next course came. What can be more gemutlich than this?
A pork cutlet, thin and tender, with crunchy crispy breading, topped with a mushroom gravy bursting with flavor. Jagerschnitzel ($9.45 lunch, $14 dinner). Could this be the long-lost daddy of chicken-fried steak? Alongside were red cabbage, cooked in vinegar to give a nice taste contrast, and spätzle. I had asked for spätzle though they are not normally available for lunch and the very gemutlich waitress made sure I got them. They are a Swabian (south German) handmade pasta a lot like gnocchi, and very hard to make. You have to mix the dough and then let it rest and then push it through the holes of a special strainer so it hits the frying pan in little squiggles. There must have been an expert in the kitchen because these were so good — lovely, chewy texture, great taste even without sauce — we cleaned the plate.
We were all more or less stuffed by now — I forgot to mention the lovely bread basket, with a homemade roll like a soft pretzel — but somehow we found room for the last offering.
A Swiss schnitzel ($9.45 lunch, $14 dinner). Basically a Jagerschnitzel with Swiss cheese on top. Good, but we all preferred the Jager. But along with the Swiss came homemade sauerkraut and yummy potatoes fried in fat and topped with bacon. That was good.
And so we waddled out, very full, very happy. And that’s a good definition of Gemütlichkeit.
Open 11 AM to 9 PM, closed Sunday, lunch prices good till 4 PM (retail store closes around 7 PM)
Photos of the retail store Here:
Learn how to make Spatzle, from Sasha at Global Table Here.
About Brian Schwartz:
Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com
I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.
“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.