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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hot Meal: Schmidt's Deli

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 3:43 PM


There can't be too many German restaurants in San Francisco to suit us -- we're BIG schnitzel fans! -- so learning that Christiana Schmidt and Isabell Mysyk (owners of the gemütlich East German Walzwerk on South Van Ness) were opening a deli on Folsom brought a tear of joy to our eye.


So did the choice of eight different sausages ($8 each), served with sauerkraut, potato salad, and two kinds of mustard (hot and grainy). Pictured above is the excellent, smoky-yet-mild Thüringer bratwurst. We also tried a delicious dark, coarse, and slightly gamy boar sausage.


The menu is not just a meatfest. Exciting salads included this one, crunchy and slightly spicy celery leaves and thinly sliced raw asparagus with quail eggs in a light vinaigrette ($4.50; we added sliced poached chicken breast for $2). Another combined mâche and pea tendrils, topped with purple chive blossoms.


Don't miss the späetzle. It comes as a side, plain ($4), topped with cheese as above ($5), or best of all as a main, combined with bacon, cheese, lettuces, and green peas ($10).


Another don't-miss dish: a tender veal schnitzel sandwich ($10), served open-face on rye, topped with chive sour cream, onion, and optional fried egg ($2). It was better (lighter, crunchier) than the excellent Wiener schnitzel we tasted in the famed KaDeWe food hall in Berlin earlier this year.


Until Schmidt's receives a wine and beer license, it's strictly lunch only, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. A spicy alternative to a chewy ale or light white wine are Bionade sodas from Germany, created, ironically, to rescue a family brewery from collapse. They come in interesting flavors like lychee, herb, and ginger-orange.


We rarely use such hyperbole, but this was THE BEST CHOCOLATE PUDDING WE'VE EVER HAD ($4, topped with vanilla sauce), and we''ll cry (no lie) if it's not on the menu next time we visit.


Schmidt's is minimalist chic, in contrast to the kitschy charm of Walzwerk. Bare floors and unadorned wooden tables catch a bit of warmth from colorful displays of imported German provender, available for sale.

Schmidt's Deli 2400 Folsom (at 20th St.), 410-0202. Cash only.

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Meredith Brody


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