My buddy sums it up well: "This is one of those dishes you have to make yourself stop eating 'cuz you're already past comfortably full."
But we don't stop, making excuses about how there's not that much left, and we may as well finish because it'll lose form reheated. He says it's by far the best schnitzel he's ever eaten, how he can't even remember others, and I can only agree and fork more from his plate.
This is a jagerschnitzel, to be precise, two giant pounded pork cutlets for an absolutely worth-it $14, which includes a choice of side, in this case browned roasted potatoes exuding simple rosemary and salt seasoning. House bread crumbs coat the meat, pan seared (not deep fried) in coconut (or sometimes avocado) oil for a fabulously crunchy texture that holds up even under a thick, creamy white-wine-and-mushroom gravy.
It's rich, lethargy inducing and comfort-food lavish. We will tell strangers about this and return with friends.
We're at The Potato House, really just an extension, or more so a commissary for the 3-year-old SuppenBar food truck. Owner Jessica Martinkoewitz, who grew up in communist East Germany and cooks largely true to home (read: simple seasonings), stands as the first local truck (to the best of our recollection) to make that romanticized move from mobile to brick-and-mortar. She pays only a little more than she did to belong to a busy commercial prep kitchen, she says, but clearly faithful brewery business for SuppenBar has justified the leap.
Being almost completely hidden from Academy Boulevard traffic by ProSound Music Center and a large tree makes the former English Dockside location less than ideal. But Martinkoewitz and new business partner Nathan Davis have brightened the place significantly: walling off the former kitchen door to reduce hood-vent noise in the dining area; painting the walls Deutschland-appropriate yellow and red to match black furniture; keeping decorations spare; and maintaining a noticeable cleanliness.
Food follows form with tidy presentations on woodblocks, which somewhat explains fairly long ticket times; but I'm always fine when slow-food actually delivers. Until The Potato House obtains a beer and wine license (hopefully by fall), pass the wait with refreshing Lingonberry iced tea, a touch tart and tannic with a hint of fruit and sweetness in the finish. Or jalapeño "poppers," actually cream cheese stuffed, halved, mild peppers wrapped in chewy medium-cooked bacon — basically mingle-plate fare.
Lunch specials, familiar from the truck, are best turned into a "meal," which includes a soup or salad and drink for $10, instead of going $6 à la carte. The fine goat cheese, spinach-and-Brazil-nut pesto and avocado sandwich on fluffy house bread, offers the lightest menu option, especially paired with SuppenBar's delightful cold cherry soup garnished with almond slivers and mascarpone — just a touch of foundational counterpoint would elevate it to excellence.
The BierRock holds up as well as the last time we ate it, with mildly seasoned ground beef and cabbage inhabiting the hot core of spongy pastry dough capped in cheese. But better is the thyme-seasoned pork, pistachio, bacon, chicken sandwich: all combined and wrapped into a rouladen of sorts, then sliced into huge wheels and garnished with the spinach pesto. Fantastic. And the side salad doesn't show up as an afterthought, but co-stars, with nectarine and firm bacon slices joining juicy chicken hunks over spinach leaves. Martinkoewitz notes the bacon addition as playing to American tastes, also subbing out a traditional mayo dressing for garlic-laced balsamic, a wise choice.
Joining the superlative schnitzel on a short, rotating entrée section of the menu — items you won't find on SuppenBar — a chicken ragout hosts a similar, divine, heavy mushroom-cream sauce. This we order with duchess potatoes, basically pillow-y, twice-baked mashers with hints of nutmeg and a paprika garnish. You will nap, or you are a stronger person than I.
You likely won't have belly room to consider a dessert on-site, so take the cookie and chocolate cake to go and let it sit at room temp if you want its coconut oil to melt a bit and soften bites. Or eat it as Martinkoewitz prefers, which I did, right out of the fridge, hardened. The sexy affair is less like cake, more like stacked layers of shortbread-esque German butter cookies, thinly divided by milk chocolate smears and topped in one thick, firm fudge-textured chocolate capping.
Again, I find myself unable to stop eating, past fullness into playful self-loathing territory. Cursing The Potato House for all the right reasons, thinking to myself, damn, this little truck has come a long way.
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