We took a small group to Sterle's for Easter dinner. It was my first time there and although I heard the quality of the food had declined since the new owner took over, I decided to give it a try. I really wanted to like it because I love German and Czech food -- it's a huge part of my heritage.
I made reservations 3 weeks in advance. I asked if there was going to be a special menu and the man on the phone said they would have all their usual favorites there and possibly something special for the occasion. When we arrived I was very disappointed to be presented with a half page piece of paper with five entrees listed on it, a family style special and one lowly dessert offering.
Still wanting to love the place, I ordered roast pork. It was only offered with mashed potatoes or roasted redskins (no dumplings!) and no vegetable. I asked for a side order of sauerkraut and was told they didn't have any that day. The others in my party ordered schnitzel.
A side salad came with the entree, with a choice of one of three dressings. It was a very small basic salad with a huge cup of dressing. Fresh bread was served with butter. My husband's beer was fabulous -- Black Bavarian. My mother's wine wasn't very good.
The pork was nicely cooked, but not seasoned. There were three large slices of meat, a generous scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy. The mashed potatoes were less than ordinary. They tasted like they either came out of a box or were mashed without butter, milk, salt or pepper. WIth the absence of a vegetable like sauerkraut, the meal was heavy but horribly bland.
The schnitzel was a bit dry. No gravy was served with it.
This was a poor excuse for an ethnic meal! It wouldn't take much to make this place good, yet the local reviews have been consistently critical of the food and service for well over a year. I found these criticisms to be fair and accurate.
Our waitress was slow, unfamiliar with the special menu, and not very attentive. The restaurant wasn't very busy -- one large table of ten and three other tables of four. At least three waitresses and one busier worked the room.
The meal wasn't cheap, especially given the mediocre quality of food. It was not good value.
We thought about coffee, but out waitress dropped off our check and then disappeared so we decided to leave.
As much as I want this old landmark to succeed, I don't plan to return until local reviews indicate the food and service has improved.
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