Just up the hill from Deadwood is the much calmer, casino-free village of Lead, South Dakota. This is where one can marvel at the beauty of the Black Hills without the Buffalo Bill or Bill Clinton t-shirt shops. The Sled Haus is just right for this town. It’s a friendly, understated beer hole with great bar food. Everything on the menu is delicious, but anything ending in “wurst” is the best.
With a list of about fifty beers, many being from Black Hills breweries, Sled Haus makes a great place to stop for a drink. However, it would be a mistake to miss the food. The German-accented menu is designed to enhance beer drinking, but it will please anyone, beer-thirsty or not.
We start with spicy barbecue wings, which are grilled, sauced, and grilled once more. The result: wings that are smoky and tangy and juicier than fried versions. The sauce is seared on, leaving some savory caramel attached.
The main attraction are sausage plates that come with stewed sauerkraut and slices of potato fried to dark brown and delicately seasoned with salt and pepper. The potatoes had various textures from crisp to soft, and offer balance to the rich flavors of sauerkraut and sausage. We get a Wurst Platter, containing one of each type available that day: bratwurst and bauerwurst The latter is something like a mildly smoked frankfurter, our clear favorite. Not to take anything away from the lightly nutmeg scented brat, which is also juicy and exemplary, but the bauerwurst feels like a real discovery. The plate comes with a tablespoon of nose- tingling house-made mustard that goes well on every bite.
The Sodak sandwich is the biggest surprise of the meal. It’s a towering open-faced sandwich on a large, soft French roll. It’s topped with thinly sliced steak, fried onions and melted provolone to glue it down. The whole mess is topped with glistening brown gravy that just barely soaks into the bun, keeping everything soft and warm. The bread is angel-food soft, and it just loves that gravy.