OGDEN — The Bavarian Chalet gives diners — or, at least, this one — the impression that it's been there forever.
Despite its location in a strip mall near the new McKay-Dee Hospital, this longtime Ogden restaurant is, inside, pure Old World, with half-timbered walls adorned with rifles, hunting horns, antlers, plaques, paintings, stuffed pheasants and other bric-a-brac. White tablecloths and symphonic music complete the classic ambience.
The food, too, is faithfully German. However, despite a few missteps, you might find something to tempt you even if you're not a fan of things like sauerbraten, cooked pickled cabbage and homemade spatzle in gravy.
We stopped in for a quiet weeknight dinner at Bavarian Chalet. We were a little nervous bringing the kids, but the place has a children's menu and our waitress, in traditional German garb, worked hard to accommodate all of us, seating us at a cozy corner table.
We started with the knackwurst and bratwurst appetizer, which featured sliced-and-browned sausage served on a bed of sauerkraut with a pot of mustard in the center for dipping. The bratwurst was juicy and substantial, the knackwurst finer-textured and just a little spicy. Both were popular with the kids. I wish the plate had featured a mustard besides the common yellow variety, and the sauerkraut was a little underflavored for my taste.
The kids and I also had bowls of fladle, a full-flavored, though salty, beef soup with clear broth, thick-and-chewy homemade noodles and green onions. My husband tried the minestrone, which was unspectacular but competently made and filling.
For dinner, I'd like to go back on a Thursday, when Bavarian Chalet features rindsrouladen, a sirloin steak wrapped around bacon, cheese and spices. Sounds naughty and delicious. But, this being a Tuesday, I instead had the night's sampler plate, a huge serving of traditional wienerschnitzel, jagrschnitzel and a few slices of bratwurst, with spatzle in gravy, carrots and cooked red cabbage on the side.
The wienerschnitzel was a thin, crisply browned slab of sweet, lean pork, unadorned but not really needing anything to bring out its flavors, though I did savor a few bites garnished with warm, tangy cabbage. The jagrschnitzel was a fresher take on the original version, which is heavy on mushrooms and sour cream, with sauteed tomatoes, and red and green peppers brightening its traditional flavors.
The spatzle's egg noodles were chewy, fresh and made on site, but I was less than inspired by the faintly flavored brown gravy that accompanied them.
My husband tried the night's combination special, a smoked pork chop-and-bratwurst on a bed of tender cooked carrots with spatzle on the side. His chop, like the rest of the meat at Bavarian Chalet, was well-cooked and juicy.
For dessert, we had a couple of Bavarian specialties, the Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (otherwise known as Black Forest cake) and the apple strudel with vanilla ice cream. The Kirschtorte was dark and delicious, with sweet chocolate cake, lots of tart cherries in sauce and just a hint of Kirsch liqueur. The Apfelstrudel was chock-full of sweet, firm apples, but they were minimally spiced and the strudel in which they were wrapped was limp and a bit soggy.
Appetizers $6.95, entrees $11.95-$21.95, children's meals $6.95-$7.45, desserts $3.95-$5.95.
Rating: ** 1/2
Where: 4387 S. Harrison Blvd., Ogden
Hours: Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m.
Closed Sunday and Monday
Payment: Major credit cards accepted
Stacey Kratz is a free-lance writer who reviews restaurants for the Deseret Morning News. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org