Visit just about any Midwestern city and you’ll find at least one 19th-century German restaurant still operating and thriving. German cuisine may currently be the most out-of-fashion food in the country, but we find it hard to resist a visit to these great old dining halls. The Rathskeller is Indy’s oldest restaurant (open since 1894), and can be found in a building originally known as Das Deutsche Haus, a German social club.
The place is chock full of German-style bric-a-brac, and there’s an outdoor beer garden that looks like an ideal place to hoist a stein of German beer on a warm day. Our experience with the food was mixed. The wurst assortment was drab, the different sausages tasting much the same. The vegetable of the day, Brussels sprouts, were soft as warm butter. Nobody, however, is dining here for Brussels sprouts. The schnitzel is a wide, thick cutlet of breaded pork. This is the Midwest, and so it was well-prepared, schnitzel being the grandfather of the tenderloin sandwich. We also enjoyed the good red cabbage and sauerkraut. And, of course, there is a wonderful selection of German brews to choose from, many of them on tap.
We’re not prepared to make a judgment on the food from this one meal. It was good enough for another visit and, at the very least, it would be worth stopping by just to quaff the great German beers and take in some German-Midwestern history.