Editor's note: Every Friday we'll be bringing you the best food in Chicago that has been battered and fried. As long as it has spent some time in hot, bubbling oil, we'll write about it for TGI Fry-Day. Got a nomination? Let us know.

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[Photographs: Joe Roy]

Located on Irving Park Road in the historically German section of North Center, Laschet's Inn specializes in hearty German-American dishes like rouladen and beef stroganoff. They also have a wide selection of imported German beers. With the temperature dropping by the hour in the city, I can't think of a better place to take the edge off this winter, especially if you're in the mood for wiener schnitzel.

Rather than allowing the uninitiated to snicker and speculate on just what a wiener schnitzel might be, let me set the record straight: It's a veal cutlet that is pounded into a plate sized round, breaded, and deep fried. In other words, the perfect fried dish for this fried food obsessed column.

If something about that description sounds a little too restrained for your taste, Laschet's will gladly crank it up to 11. Just follow these instructions that I picked up from LTHForum: Order the wiener schnitzel, specify a la Holstein, and sub spätzle for the roasted potatoes. You'll be rewarded with an overflowing plate that's three parts fried, one part sauerkraut.

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Even though this dish is literally breaded and fried meat topped with a fried egg sidled up to fried dough, it was surprisingly balanced. Like the best chicken fried steak, the veal was moist and flavorful and the breading was expertly applied and crisp. The sunny side up egg was also perfectly cooked. Even the spätzle, which was a little tough, was flavorful thanks to having been cooked in butter.

But it was the sprinkle-on-as-you-like dish of capers that stole the show. Just as the richness of the dish threatened to take over, the briny capers stepped in to exercise some much needed restraint. The sauerkraut lent a welcomely acidic hand, too. Next time I'm in the mood for schnitzel, I'll order it with a stein and consider settling in for the winter.

Laschet's Inn
2119 W Irving Park Road Chicago, IL 60618 (map)
773-478-7915
www.laschetsinn.com

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