Schnitzel Ranch

Date
22 Apr 2011
Cuisine
German
Cost
Average Cost ($8-$14)
Location
North Huntsville
Rating
2 out of 5
Schnitzel Ranch

Melanie’s Take

There’s just something about German food that reminds me of the South. Maybe it’s the fried pork or the endless potato dishes, but I love it like I love Memaw’s cooking. Shane and I headed out to try Schnitzel Ranch, an authentic German spot located off of University Drive and the Parkway in the old Beauregard’s place. When we walked in, the atmosphere immediately put us at ease. The decor is unpretentious and comfortable with large booths and checkered tablecloths. Perhaps the most unpretentious touch is the way you get your server’s attention. There are small “masts” on every table with flags that you raise when you need something. Some people might be turned off by this, but we found it to be kitschy and fun.

I ordered the Kase Schnitzel with hot potato salad and a garden salad with bleu cheese dressing. Our waitress brought us each a plate of bread slices with a tub of faux-butter. I was dissapointed by both the quality of the bread and the “butter.” My salad arrived at the same time and was good, but nothing special. It consisted of iceberg lettuce with a few cucumbers and grated carrots. The dressing was good, but again, it was nothing unique. When my main entree arrived, I had mixed emotions. The pork schnitzel was huge and looked well cooked, but it was topped with two slices of processed cheese. The processed flavor of the cheese really killed the authenticity of the schnitzel, which was otherwise delicious. The hot potato salad was tasty as well. It was loaded with bacon and large chunks of potato, but was missing the acidity I love in the same dish at Ol’ Heidelberg.

Pork Schnitzel

Even though we were more than full after our entrees, we decided to try dessert. I ordered the black forest cake, which was a good value at only $3.25, especially compared to other German spots in town. Unfortunately, its taste was just average, perhaps a reflection of the price. The cake and whipped frosting were slightly sweet and the sour cherry filling was a nice flavor combination with the chocolate, but it was just not anything spectacular. Overall, I enjoyed my experience at the Schnitzel Ranch but did not leave remembering the food. There wasn’t anything I tried that would stick in my mind as an “I must have that again” dish.

Black Forest Cake

Shane’s Take

Because of the funky name and odd mascot, Schnitzel Ranch sat in our queue for a while before deciding to try it, but Melanie and I coincidentally were in a funky mood last week, so we gave it a shot. I found it to be a decent place to eat. I ordered beef rouladen, a dish composed of a roll of beef stuffed with pickles and onions and covered in a dark gravy; it had potato balls and red cabbage served as sides. That may sound unusual and, well, it was. The beef had a nice roasted flavor, and it was well-complemented by the strong gravy, but the pickle and onion stuffing was strange. As I expect from German food, the dish was heavy and inelegant, which well suits my Southern palate, but the strange combination of pickles and beef didn’t work for me. I did enjoy the potato balls, which had a nice flavor and were amusingly textured, much like a puréed ball of sticky rice. The red cabbage was like most red cabbage: fine but forgettable and not something I long for.

Beef Rouladen

The ranch was busy the night we visited, but the service was good. As Melanie described, they use an unusual but efficient flag system for getting the waiter’s attention. I liked it since it brought images of pirates to my mind, and I imagine kids would like it too, maybe even for the same reason. I also appreciated our waitress’s casual and friendly demeanor. Between her friendliness and the laid-back atmosphere, I had no trouble relaxing and enjoying the meal, even if I did foolishly order a pickle-stuffed meat roll.

Inside Schnitzel Ranch

Schnitzel Ranch is a decent place to eat. Melanie and I enjoyed our meal, the atmosphere, and the service, but I doubt we’ll return. There are just too many other good, preferable dining choices in town, and I can’t imagine choosing it over Ol’ Heidelbergwhen the German food mood strikes. But, when the pirate mood strikes, I may return just so I can raise that flag again. Closing Comments:

  • I ordered a chocolate milkshake-like beverage for dessert (just like the Germans do?). It had a nice flavor but was unfortunately forgettable.
  • Like me, you may think from outside appearances that Schnitzel Ranch is a dirty German beer joint. It’s not—it’s family friendly.
  • Any guesses on what their cartoon mascot is supposed to be?
  • It’s cheaper than the beloved Ol’ Heidelberg, but it’s not cheap enough to accommodate the difference in quality.
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