Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Marikka's Restaurant

Obviously, given this blog's name, I love food. But some types of food hold a special place in my heart and, as my family is from Germany, German would be at the top of the list. So when my husband and I decided to visit my parents yesterday to take advantage of their pool with the wonderful 90 degree weather and 90% humidity (don't we all LOVE Kentucky?) I decided to sweet-talk him into hitting a Lexington German restaurant, Marikka's. My parents have been there multiple times and my father raves about it, so my hopes were high.

Maybe too high.

First of all, I have to say I was impressed with their beer selection. They had an extensive draft list and a lasciviously long bottled list to choose from, that I won't begin to try to describe. The draft list, besides the basics like Budweiser and other national and local American brews, there were also authentic German tastes, such as Hoegaarden and Franziskaner, along with other nationalities, such as Kirin Ichiban! Odd, but a good beer nonetheless. Besides the normal 12 ounce serving, you can have a half liter or liter draft of your choice served in a stein you can take home for $10 or $16, respectively.

We started with their soft Bavarian pretzel ($6.99) and beer cheese (additional $3). The pretzel was huge (the size of a dinner plate), deliciously toasty, and without salt, which it didn't need with all the flavor from the perfectly browned exterior. The beer cheese, while good, was obviously just scooped from a tub, cold as ice, and the ¼ cup serving did not deserve the $3 price tag. I ordered their Goulasch mit Spaetzle und Rotkraut ($10.95), described as "paprika seasoned beef tips in gravy with German noodles and red cabbage." Hardly. The meat pretty much tasted like Armour beef stew. The spaetzle was done well, but I got green beans instead of the red cabbage I was expecting. I'm sure they would have remedied that, but I didn't realize the mistake until after the meal was over due to the overwhelming disappointment with the goulasch. My husband ordered the Huehnerschnitzel mit Kartoffelbrei und Gruenen Bohnen (also $10.95), described as "breaded chicken with mashed potatoes and green beans." If you've read my other posts, you're not surprised by this. :-) However, it must be said, his was much better than mine. The breading on the pounded chicken breast was light and crisp with well-balanced seasoning and the whole thing was tender and not over cooked. The mashed potatoes were basic, as were the green beans. Nothing extraordinary, but good, filling food. We did order a side of sauerkraut for him to top his potatoes, but were disappointed in that as well since it was obviously straight from a can. Once again, not at all worth the $4.49 price tag. Talking to my mom later, she commented that my dad usually gets one of the sausage platters and seems to enjoy that, so other choices might have been better.

Their decor was also woefully underdone. Plain white walls with a few scattered prints and a turned-spindle divider painted as the German flag. There were tablecloths, albeit plastic, and an attempt to have centerpieces consisting of cheap glass vases with artificial flowers and marbles holding them in place. Very Chinese-buffet.

Overall, I would go to Marikka's again to get Hoegaarden on tap and enjoy a soft pretzel, with the complimentary mustard rather than beer cheese, but if I want a true German dish, I'll stick to Gasthaus in Louisville or, better yet, Hofbrauhaus at Newport on the Levee. Either one is well worth a trip just to feel true German atmosphere.

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