Atmosphere: Elegant but warm and homey.
Hours: Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Price range: Entrees $6.25 to $12.95.
Special facilities: Accessible to handicapped; parking after 6 p.m. at adjacent lot, which also serves Women's Farm Cooperative market.
Credit cards: BankAmericard, American Express, Diner's Club and Carte Blanche.
We had a lively discussion on our way to Chateau Gesundheit for dinner. Would it be French food, as in Chateau, or German, as in Gesundheit, or would it be cooking in the style of Alsace Lorraine?
The restaurant's facade only added to the mystery. With its awning, little shuttered window and wood paneling. Chateau Gesundheit looked like a Swiss chalet. We walked into a long foyer that looked like the entry to someone's home, hung up our coats on a long rack and finally reached the dining room, which was set with starched white tablecloths, candlelight and flowers. It was buzzing with groups of people drinking beer out of heavy steins and nibbling on fried, sugared dumplings. A look at the menu confirmed the cuisine: Weiner Schnitzel a la Holstein, Rheinischer Sauerbraten, Rinderrouladen and four varieties of sausage (Bratwurst, Knockwurst, Weiswurst and Bauerwurst), could only be the menu of a German restaurant.
The entrees were a little more expensive than we thought they would be - most were around $7.50 - so we asked the waiter about a children's menu. He told us there wasn't any but that any one of the sausages, which were $6.25, or the beef steak were $1.25 less for children.
Our daughter, 11, who was just recuperating from a cold, wasn't in the mood for either the sausage, the beef steak or any of the other dishes. She wanted a shrimp cocktail, $3.25; goulash soup, $1.35, and a salad, $1.25. Our son also refused to test the children's offerings. He was debating between Schweineschnitzel (pork chops), at $6.95 and Rindsgulasch (beef goulash) with Spaetzle, $ 6.95, and finally opted for the goulash. My husband, who has always loved Weinerschcitzel, went all out with the Schnitzel a la Holstein, $7.95. I decided to see what a German chef could do with calf's liver, $7.50. All the entrees came with a salad.
My husband and I had a glass of white wine before dinner and, along with the drinks, our waiter served the fried and sugared apple dumplings we'd seen on other tables. They were heavy and greasy, and we knew they were too filling, but they were delicious.
The service was, unfortunately, very slow. While we like leisurely service when our evening plans call for dinner out, we find slow service almost unbearable when our children are along. They get hungry, eat too much bread and find it difficult to sit still. They made several trips to the restroom to check out the facilities and sighed with relief when our salads appeared.My husband and daughter had ordered their salads with the house dressing, which was a sweet oil and vinegar dressing with onion in it. They raved about it. Our daughter's shrimp cocktail was pitiful, though. Four little shrimp hardly seemed worth $3.25, but we had suspected it would be that way. A restaurant specializing in unusual cuisines rarely concentrates its efforts on such a dish. The soup, however, was superb - very spicy, meaty and rich.
The goulash turned out to be as spicy, meaty and rich, but unfortunately, our son's palate is more attuned to quieter tastes. We couldn't fault the restaurant - the goulash was quite good. The Weinerschnitzel a la Holstein looked beautiful. Crisply breaded veal with a fried egg and capers on top. The meat was light and moist and cooked perfectly. It tasted as good as it looked. The calf's liver, smothered in onions was also very good. There was more than enough to give my son a healthy portion of liver to compensate for the goulash, but he, like most children, is not too keen on liver.
For dessert we shared one apple streudel which had a lovely crust and was filled tart apples. We were sorry weren't hungry enough to have a streudel each.
The glasses of wine were $1.25 each; the food bill came to $30.25. German food is nothing if not filling and we thought Chateau Gesundheit served very well prepared German food.