Legendary | Worth driving from anywhere
Review by: Michael Stern
** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
Now in its second century of operation, this grand restaurant has earned fame for its German food, served by a staff of dirndl-skirted professionals in an extremely atmospheric dining room: dark woodwork, antique steins, romantic murals, sentimental paintings.
The old world menu includes such stalwart classics as liver-dumpling soup, roast goose, beef rouladen, and sauerbraten with ginger-snap gravy. There isn’t a more beautiful roast duck in the state of Wisconsin; the wiener schnitzel is magnificent; and the crackling pork shank is one of the most awesome-looking (and tasting) meals imaginable. The beer-on-tap list includes some from Germany as well as local Milwaukee brews (and the waitress will gladly describe each one, if you have any doubts); and there is a whole array of Kümmel, Kirshwasser, and Rumpleminze liqueurs for after dinner.
Most people come To Ratzsch’s for German food, and rightfully so. But here’s a secret: the “regular” food is grand, too. Steaks and prime rib are regal (get Ratzsch’s thick, crusty potato pancakes on the side), and the Porterhouse-for-two is one of the Midwest’s most magnificent meat monuments. Whitefish here is a Great Lakes treasure – tender, sweet, and juicy – served on a wood plank in a ring of mashed potatoes. There is a “lighter fare” menu, too, for those who prefer angel hair pasta or a veggie plate to stuffed pork chops and spaetzel or potato dumplings.
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