Preview: Chamberlain’s Brau Haus at Addison Oktoberfest

Traditional Apple Strudel
Traditional apple strudel with caramel apple sauce (photos by Wes Wells)

Richard Chamberlain isn’t German, but you probably wouldn’t know that without a degree in etymology. The revered Texas chef has been one of the Lone Star State’s favored sons since the doors of Chamberlain’s Steak and Chop House first opened in 1993. Whether or not your audience is your Munich-native mother-in-law or your roommate from freshman year who majored in Beerfest and minored in the evaporation of Paulaner, you could make a compelling argument that Mr. Chamberlain was a Deutschland transplant. Such realization is attainable by attending his VIP tasting event at this year’s Addison Oktoberfest, running September 19 – 21.

This is Chamberlain’s inaugural year of participating in the event, which has been Addison’s annual authentic tribute to the Munich-based festival since 1987. This time around, the James Beard Award winning chef will proverbially don the lederhosen and show you that he’s at the top of his game in any culinary genre.

Boasting the only full wait staff under an ample-sized, air-conditioned tent, Chef Chamberlain is sure to impress with a traditional German menu, albeit probably not one you’re accustomed to.  Gone are the days of overly pickled sauerkraut, flimsy bratwursts, and packets of spicy mustard. Chamberlain has taken over.

App Trio
App trio (smoked salmon, Black Forest ham, cucumber)

The chef is throwing down a full three-course tasting menu, complete with Munchen-based Paulaner pairings. This fortunate soul was in attendance for a pre-Oktoberfest tasting session and I have to admit that while Chamberlain is known for pioneering “Alpine American” cuisine, his ability to unequivocally impress Dallas-based German expats is spot on.

The tasting menu is hardly a tasting menu at all but rather a full meal. To start, Chamberlain plates a beautifully prepared potato pancake with chive crème and smoked salmon. The salmon is live and vibrant, while the cool undertones of the crème soften the smokiness.  Complementing the salmon pancake is an uber-traditional cucumber salad. The cucumbers themselves are chilled and crisp while the tomatoes and onions allow for a required tartness, rounded out by the addition of dill. The apps conclude with a bite of Black Forest ham paired with Camembert atop of pumpernickel with the perfect amount of Lingonberry sauce. Easily mistaken for the famed Jamón Ibérico of Spain, this iteration was cured for two weeks in salt, ginger and coriander after which it was smoked for another three. Needless to say, the lingering smoky, earthy, nutty flavor of the ham—matched with the creaminess of the Cambabert and sweetness of the Lingonberries—made this the highlight of the featured appetizers.

Braised Pork and Sausage Trio
Braised pork and sausage trio

Dinner was equally as impressive with a braised bone-in pork shank over roasted onion potatoes and a Paulaner jus. No knives were required. The pork melted from the bone and, when combined with the garlicky, buttery potatoes, one might question why there was anything else on the plate. But then you met the trio of German sausages, including a traditional bratwurst, a Grobe sausage, and a Weisswurst on top of elegantly braised red cabbage with house smoked bacon and mustard seed sauce. Exquisite.

A traditional baked apple strudel will bring your experience to an end. It is precisely what one wants after a properly salted round of apps and entrees.  Crisp, caramelized apples rest atop a crunchy strudel, finished with powdered sugar and a salted caramel sauce.  With a larger stomach, I could have taken on some fresh vanilla bean ice cream, but given the circumstances, I was more than content.

Paulaner biers were exquisitely paired with the aforementioned German fare, each course further enticing you to book your tickets to the Motherland. Highlighted by the amber-hued Oktoberfest Marzen, in addition to the more recognized wheat colored Hefe-Weizen and traditional Original Premium Lager, the selection of Paulaner displays quality and versatility… all the way from Chamberlain’s trio of German sausages with braised red cabbage to the weinerschnitzel you’ve been downing with Heinz mustard and sauerkraut since JFK was in office (Der fun since ’61!).

Seating is limited and will only run you $49 per (including an authentic take-home beer (ahem “Paulaner”) stein. Simple math will tell you that it’s really only $24 as each participant will receive a $25 gift card for use at Chamberlain’s acclaimed Steak and Chop House or Chamberlain’s Fish Market Grill.

To book your reservation, click here.

Wes Wells is a contributor for D SideDish. A finance geek by day and a devoted F&B consumer by night, he admittedly prefers the barstool to the formal dining room.  That said, a table with four legs never stood between him and his take.