Since they announced on December 28 that they would be closing at the end of February, Cindy and I made plans to go into Chicago to eat at The Berghoff one last time. We were talking with Scott and Marcia Schroeder about it last weekend and they thought they'd like to go in, as well.
So today, we made a road trip into Chicago to eat at the Berghoff.
Before we could go there, the girls had to do their prerequisite shopping, while the guys camped at the ESPN Sports Zone to watch Iowa play Michigan State. It wasn't a pretty day if you were an Iowa fan.
We ended up getting to The Berghoff around a quarter after 2 p.m. and the line to get in was almost a block long. We were prepared, mentally, and we knew we were going to have to wait. The weather in Chicago was nice for a mid-January day - sunny, low 30's - so standing outside wasn't too bad.
Actually, Scott and Marcia went into the bar to get a beer and Cindy and I stood in line. Then Scott came out after a while and Cindy went in to sit with Marcia. I soon followed her in, had a beer, then went back out and stood with Scott the rest of the time. By the time we got in the door it was 3:30 p.m. We were finally seated about 20 minutes later.
The wait was worth it. Marcia and I had the Geshnetzeltes - veal medallions with sauteed mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce served with mashed potatoes. Cindy had the Wiener Schnitzel, which was lightly breaded and cooked perfectly. Scotty had the "Schlalt Platte" - a combination plate of a smoked pork chop (or Kassler Rippchen), smoked thuringer sausage and a bratwurst, and it came with - and I'm not kidding - with a quart of sauerkraut. We were laughing because there was so much sauerkraut on the plate.
We all thought our food was great. I'd been hearing from some people who felt that lately The Berghoff wasn't as good as it used to be. I have to report that they've got their last wind in them and the food was very good to excellent. At least, mine was. And I think everyone in our party else agreed. My veal was tender and the sauce was flavorful.
Cindy, Marcia and I also had a side of their creamed spinach and a side of sauerkraut. I remember the creamed spinach being better, but forgot how great their sauerkraut was. Of course, we all had to have a Berghoff Beer with dinner. Actually, Scott and I had two!
For dessert, Cindy ordered up the White Chocolate mousse and a piece of the Black Bavarian chocolate cake and we all sort of grazed on that, and not finishing either of them. We were stuffed.
The service was very good. The gentleman who waited on us was funny, out-going and generous. He gave us all our sides - normally two dollars each - for free. And he was quick, too. We had our food in less than five minutes. They must have really been punching the food out in the kitchen.
It was kind of sad to walk out of the place. There's so much history that is contained in that restaurant. Given the tons of people of who have come to The Berghoff - like us - to have one last dinner, one has to wonder if the Berghoff children are having second thoughts.
You know, I have to go into Chicago a couple more times before the end of February. I may have to go back one more time...