Raise a Stein: Oom-Pah

Dining at Edelweiss is like taking a step back in time. The much-loved German restaurant on the traffic circle, with its checkered tablecloths, plastic flowers and jolly renditions of the Chicken Dance, hasn’t changed since it opened nearly 50 years ago.

Enough to feed two hungry people, the Combination Plate comes with sauerkraut, red cabbage, spatzle, fried diced potatoes, a single brat, one large smoked pork rib and two types of schnitzel.

| photography by Alex Lepe | Interiors are still dark, deer heads and string lights still hang from the walls, and an accordion player still leads sing-along songs while customers polka on the dance floor. And while the entire scene is decidedly hokey, it’s almost refreshing – an unpretentious retreat from Fort Worth’s growing list of posh, be-seen venues. Edelweiss is a place where diners can let their hair down and raise their stein with an “oom-pah.”

It’s a good thing dancing is encouraged, because portions are notoriously hefty. The carb overload begins with complimentary bread – hot wheat and white slices served with salted herb butter. Ours continued with potato pancakes ($6.50), resembling hash browns that were smashed, fried until golden and cut into half-circles. Lightly seasoned and dense, the popular appetizer was served with sweetened apple sauce and was almost as addicting as potato chips.

Main courses range from rib eye and hamburgers to pickled braised beef and ham shank. But the combination plate ($20.95) is a good way to sample many of the storied restaurant’s most well-liked, German-style offerings. Enough to feed two hungry people, the dish comes with sauerkraut, red cabbage, spatzle, fried diced potatoes, a single brat, one large smoked pork rib and two types of schnitzel – thinly sliced pork coated in breadcrumbs and fried. One came smothered in a thin mushroom sauce. Both were slightly sweet, tender and juicy, and it was fun to pair bites of each with tangy sauerkraut, sweet red cabbage or the spongy spatzle dumplings. The entree was paired with a half-liter (the smallest mug size offered) of Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse ($6) per the recommendation of our polite server. The golden-orange German wheat beer was surprising light and made for a citrusy thirst-quencher.

The Hungarian-style goulash ($17.95) came with peppery braised beef tips simmered in a tomato sauce and served atop buttered egg noodles. Order this one with sweet red cabbage to balance the beef’s piquant spice. All entrees come with a small salad of shredded romaine, tomato slices and croutons topped with ranch dressing or the very dill-heavy German vinaigrette.

A traditional Bavarian apple strudel ($5.95) was touted as being “just out of the oven,” and while the cinnamon apple-stuffed pretzel dough, garnished with a vanilla-tinged dollop of whipped cream, was pleasing, the pastry could have benefited from a little longer bake time.

Two years ago, several menu items as well as singing servers from Italian Inn landed at Edelweiss when the long-time restaurant closed. (The proprietor owned both venues.) The Italian dishes are now gone, but the talented servers still take turns on stage with Helga Beckman, the restaurant’s tenured main act. A quiet evening is not on the menu, and that’s part of the fun.

Location: 3801 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth
For Info Call: 817.738.5934
Price Range: $-$$
Hours: Wed. & Thu. 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. 5 p.m. - 11 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. noon - 9 p.m.
What We Like: The atmosphere is fun and unpretentious. The combination plate gives a great sample of German-style offerings.
What We Don’t: The traditional Bavarian strudel could have benefited from a little longer bake time.
Our Recommendation: Skip the diet one night and load up on carbs and German beer.