Monday, June 24, 2013

Zum Linzer: Hamilton, Ontario

I was pleasantly surprised to have been able to score a table for two on a Friday night when I called a few weeks back. While parking is a bit difficult (since the restaurant is located directly on Main St. in Hamilton) I was definitely far too excited to let that deter me; I hadn’t been to Zum Linzer in several months and wore my stretchiest finest jeans for the meal.
Deep Fried Camembert

From the moment you walk into their small but cozy digs, you pretty much know right away that you are in a German restaurant. They have about 10 tables and a small but very nice bar. They have a row of beer steins along a shelf hung across a brick wall in addition to a collection of decorative plates. They use proper linens on their tables (i.e.: not paper) and their servers are always knowledgeable, friendly and prompt.

House Salad
When we sat down, there were about 3 other full tables and I could hear people quietly speaking to each other in German (which I take to be a very good sign). Soft music with inaudible lyrics could be heard in the background and mostly everyone there seemed pretty serious about the food and beer. While they don’t have a huge beer selection, what they do offer includes select imports such as Warsteiner Dark, Munich, Stiegl and Gosser with a few on tap and a few in bottles. I know the beer only contributes to how full I inevitably feel whenever I eat here but I think it is necessary – somehow wine just doesn’t feel right. Kind of like how not eating the complementary rye bread that comes to the table doesn’t feel right, even though it means that I’m already half full before the apps arrive.
Gypsy Schnitzel

We start off with the deep fried camembert cheese and receive a huge breaded and deep fried round of the stuff. It comes out golden and crispy on the outside and warm and creamy on the inside. They serve it on a toasted piece of bread with a thick dark currant jam on the side, of which the sweet and tart flavors perfectly complement the rich cheese.

We then receive two plates of the house salad, which is quite unique in comparison to many other places. The salad is basically a handful or so of fresh greens topped with a medley of finely diced pickled veggies in an oil and vinegar dressing. Little pieces of carrots, red cabbage and onion can be picked out, creating a colourful, flavourful and interesting start to our meal.
Liver and Onions

Our mains arrive at the table – two heaping plates of meat, sauce and spaetzle. My boyfriend ordered the liver and onions because a) he loves liver and onions and b) he says it’s the best he’s ever had (I can’t really comment on this because unfortunately I really, really don’t like liver and onions). I ordered the gypsy schnitzel, a classic thin piece of breaded pork covered in a rich paprika sauce. It comes with a huge portion of spaetzle and grilled veggies. The sauce is savoury but not spicy, with sliced red peppers and onions to give it a bit of texture and depth of flavour.

We didn’t have room for dessert (or for all of the spaetzle) and we both left feeling very satisfied and exceptionally full.  I certainly recommend this place to anyone looking for a delicious schnitzel (Michael recommends it for anyone looking for amazing liver and onions) and an overall very good dining experience in Hamilton.