Few cuisines dovetail so well with comfort food the way German cuisine does. With a penchant for sausage, beer, and potatoes, it's as innately comforting as buttery food comes, and since brunch is a mealtime immersed in syrup-soaked comfort, the two go hand-in-hand. But since Chicago is curiously lax in the German brunch department, The Radler proudly paves the way as one of the most quintessentially comforting brunch destinations in town.
With nary a single menu item that won't leave you reeling in meat sweats, one item that stands out boldly is the smoked brisket Reuben ($14). As the most recognizable dish on the menu, there's a lot riding on this comfort food staple. Greatness is expected and greatness is what's delivered. This is one hulking beast, with each component dutifully tended to and honed. The rye bread is tender and buttery, providing a solid foundation for the massive heap of succulent brisket strewn atop it. Whisper-thin slices of brisket are indulgent and meltingly tender, like Germany's answer to prosciutto, but in an embarrassingly large quantity. The meat is luscious and smoky on its own, but it really hits its stride when striated with Gruyère, piquant sauerkraut, and housemade 1,000 Island. These are classic flavors done very very right. With a sandwich of this heft, any side is laughable excess, but I won't say no to a pile of herbed fries.
While the Reuben skews traditional, the grilled trout ($14) is a Radler novelty indicative of the kitchen's knack for precision. A delicate, thin slice of trout is cooked with great finesse, careful enough to sear the fillet and crisp up the skin without rendering it fish leather. It's served over a curious medley of warm romaine and pickles, a pretty strange arrangement for a brunch dish, but surprisingly satisfying. Pickles provide a nice, zesty crunch, while the warm lettuce adds an herbaceous quality. Some pieces of lettuce are actually extremely crispy, which is pleasant, like leafy potato chips. The trout is fantastic, but the item that really enamors on this plate is the potatoes. Fried baby spuds are perfectly cooked and none-too-greasy, but their dressing is what makes them some of the most unique breakfast potatoes around, immersed in a vibrant yogurt salsa verde (trend alert: salsa verde at brunch!), which lends an extremely distinct, original flavor to a commonplace brunch side.
German comforts lay the framework for some truly unique, special interpretations of brunch fare at The Radler. Whether it's a familiar German favorite or an oddball original bedecked with warm lettuce, Logan Square's German beer hall puts an impressive stamp on the weekend repast.
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