Schnitzel & Beer at Rudi Lechner’s

Austria, Germany — By on October 7, 2011 4:00 am

I had not been to Rudi Lechners in a very long time so it was definitely time for a visit. Now, however, I wanted more than a German meal: I wanted the story behind the food.

I sat down to get to know the person behind the name. Born in Austria, Rudi Lechner moved to the States 45 years ago while working in the hotel industry. Ten years later, he decided to pursue his own business and open his first restaurant. La Quiche and later Lechners Quiche were two of the first versions of the well known Rudi Lechners restaurant.

Upon opening his restaurants, Rudi realized that most people were ignorant about Austrian culture and food and quite a bit less ignorant about German culture and food. Surprisingly, most dishes are exactly the same in preparation and presentation. They are merely under a different name to distinguish the country of origin. Since the two countries share so much cuisine it made sense for Rudi to identify his restaurant with the better known German traditions.

Now to the yummy stuff

I took two friends with me to help judge how true to German food Rudi Lechners dishes really were: Kathi, who was born and raised in Austria; Alicia who recently visited Austria and Germany- Both gave the restaurant two thumbs up!

Kathi started with the Wiener Schnitzel; breaded and pan fried veil cutlet served with red cabbage and potatoes. Alicia had the Kasespatzle (AKA incredible macaroni and cheese), and the Goulash in soup form-I didn’t know the goulash was also served as a soup, good stuff.Finally, I had the Hungarian Goulash, which consisted of beef tips simmered in a spicy paprika sauce, with homemade noodles.

Don’t think that we stopped there. The food was great and we couldn’t say no to a couple of other dishes: The bratwurst (sausage), cooked in broth with sauerkraut had a tangy sour taste. This was great because I often find sauerkraut overwhelmingly sour, not the case here.Finally, we indulged in some more macaroni and cheese.Simply put, I could eat this all day. To top it all off I drank the queen of beers, Warsteiner.

German food is more than beer, bratwurst and sauerkraut. Simple seasonings let the true flavor of the poultry, meats and vegetables come through with a touch of comfort that translates to all cultures. On to the interview:

Go for the Beer, Stay for the Schnitzel at Rudi Lechner’s: MyFoxHOUSTON.com

Later as we ate with Rudi, we shared our experiences migrating to the U.S.; I was fascinated with how similar some of our experiences were. It was an interesting experience being German in America, said Rudi, referring to the many Austrians and Germans who migrated to the U.S. after WWII. There was a generalized rejection for German sounding names and German people even years after the war. This rejection is certainly an experience I can identify with to some extent, being Colombian. At first, the whispered comments and assumptions, and the change in people’s faces upon realizing your nationality made it even more difficult to be away from home. Now, it is just something to get used to.

As we discussed food, history and a difficult life in Austria and Germany after the war, we can see things in the same way almost. Our generations have different feelings about those years. While for people of Rudi’s generation memories of the years after the war are very personal, to my generation in general they are almost forgotten. I say almost because we have learned about the war in school and may still have relatives personal accounts of those years.

The resilience of Germany and Austria, is remarkable to me. Two sister nations sharing such painful and terrible past. The sad memories of these nations have been replaced in our minds by those of beautiful historic streets, loving people, great beer and comfort food.

 

You can enjoy Oktoberfest going on right now at Rudi Lechner’s.

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2 Comments

  1. mfasthoff says:

    See Rudi Lechner preparing his ‘good night coffee’, perfect for a day like today: http://www.rudilechners.com/restaurant.htm

  2. Loyd Kaumans says:

    nice website, rss following now and wish to see some similar posts soon.

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