This past weekend I decided to bring two of my friends home from school to experience all that the Fairfield/Westport Area has to offer. One of my friends is from Germany, so we decided that this would be the perfect time to try Rothbard Ale + Larder ( rothbardct.com). When dining at foreign restaurants, the best course of action to see how it stacks up against the real thing, is to go to the restaurant with an actual resident of the country of the restaurant’s origin. Although Rothbard Ale isn’t fully German and is classified more as “European Gastro-Pub Food,” it didn’t hurt to have my German friend come along.
Unfortunately for the residents of Westport, satisfying food choices from that particular region are limited to say the least. A great deal of restaurants have closed in the past year, and some of the new ones have been a bit disappointing. When I starterd hearing promising things about Rothbard, I was beyond excited. The folks from Walrus + Carpenter (walruscarpenterct.com) , a restaurant I happen to love in Bridgeport (asherzeats.com/2014/01/18/walrus–carpenter/) are the ones behind Rothbard, so I had reason to be hopeful.
The Assorted Sausage Platter was the perfect start to our feast, and was the perfect size to satiate the hunger of three teenagers and my Mom.
The dish was made up of Kielbasa, Bratwurst, and Weisswurst (the three core members to any good sausage dish). The Kielbasa was extremely crisp and oily on the outside, and tender and juicy in the middle. The sausage was snappy and slightly spicy, but with one delicate smear of grainy mustard the sausage presented the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and spicy (the holy trinity in the flavor world).
The Bratwurst was not as crisp and snappy, but did present the consumer with beautiful grill marks and a slightly brown tinge to the otherwise grey sausage. The sausage was overflowing with delectable, salty juice on the inside, and perfectly rivaled the somewhat dry consistency of the Kielbasa. Last but certainly not least was the Weisswurst.
The Weisswurst was quite soft and was utterly delicate in contrast with hearty, thick Kielbasa and Bratwurst, but that did not detract from the wonderfully tender, succulent flesh of the sausage. Each separate piece of the sausage puzzle presented us with unique flavor profiles, all integral to the overall impression of the classic Sausage Platter. In addition to sausages, the dish was served with two soft pretzels and a bed of braised red cabbage. The moist, fluffy pretzels were speckled with salt, and developed the perfect amount of chewiness, as to combat their otherwise soft demeanor. The braised red cabbage was a bit mushy, and slightly slushy but it was a very good vessel to take in all the extra juices from the sausages.
Coq Au Riesling is a variation of Coq Au Vin, which is a French dish of chicken braised with wine, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, and garlic, the only slight variation is that the Coq Au Riesling is made with wine from Germany. The Coq Au Riesling from Rothbard was wonderful.
The chicken was so delicate and tender than it literally fell off the bone into small piles amongst the perfectly warmed tangy, gravy-like wine broth. In addition to chicken, the dish is served with firm, yet grainy potato segments, plump, robust mushrooms, rustic baby onions, and a whole lot of smashed garlic — as anybody know, any good meal always has an abundance of garlic.
The Wiener Schnitzel was quite good, but as my German friend said, it is not the spot on representation of the German Classic. He said that the dish is not typically served with bacon potato salad, but otherwise the Schnitzel was quite delectable.
The thin, pounded veal chop was perfectly salted and breaded until it had its signature golden-hue. The outside beared a crispy, toothsome quality to it, and the inside was moist and lucious. A seasoned schnitzel-eater would know that to attain maximum taste and flavor profile, you need to add a squeeze of lemon to the slab of veal, before you dig in. Once you add that squeeze, the schnitzel is in perfect shape to be eaten.
The Brussels Sprouts were adequately oily, and the small size of them compared to normal sprouts allowed them to be more easily caramelized. The sprouts developed a robust flavor and as a result was the perfect side to an already wonderful meal.
Lastly, we obtained dessert. Now sometimes I consider my to be a fan of dessert foods, but often times a bad dessert can truly tarnish an otherwise good meal. Luckily, the two desserts that we got at Rothbard Ale were quite delicious. We ordered a dense, rich black forest cake with several layers of light, airy chocolate sponge cake sandwiched in between thick, velvety layers of whipped cream and a smattering of sweet, blood red cherries. In addition, we ordered an Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream.
The Apple Strudel was a bit soggy and at the same time over cooked on the bottom, but the addition of sharp, chilling vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel brought the dish from the brink of being disappointing, to be fairly yummy.
Overall the authentic food, pleasing atmosphere, and accommodating staff presented us with a very enjoyable evening. I would most definitely return to Rothbard on any occasion, and I recommend you to do so as well. I would give it a NIEN out of ten (just kidding), I would give it ZZZZ- 4 Z’s – Awesome.