Lee’s Summit’s Year-Round Octoberfest
hen it comes to German cuisine, I have to be honest that I’m not an expert. When I think German, I think sauerkraut, and that is something I try to avoid at all costs. My time at Dietrich’s Modern Cuisine and Biergarten just changed all that. Using a delightful combination of rather robust flavors, Dietrich’s has managed to create a unique ensemble of menu items unlike any in the Lee’s Summit dining experience. My most recent visit even involved a sauerkraut dish that made me rethink every pre-judgment I’ve ever made in life. Although I can’t judge its “authenticity,” I can say that Dietrich’s provides a unique dining experience that almost anyone can enjoy.
Dietrich’s has been in Lee’s Summit for about one year. It is locally owned and operated by the Schulenberg family who’s son, Craig, serves as head chef. They have modernized old family recipes with an “international flair” to appeal to a variety of guests. In my opinion, it’s working.
The environment is charming. An Old-World style hearth rises from the center of the room decorated with bold colors and lovely stone work. There is a sort of elegance combined with a ruggedness that one might expect from an old European tavern. It provides a cultural experience without becoming a tacky caricature of itself.
Since I was new to German cuisine, my wife and I decided to start with the appetizer sampler ($10) which included bacon wrapped brats, kraut balls, chicken lollies, and bier battered mushrooms. To my great surprise, the creamy kraut balls were my favorite followed closely by the bacon wrapped brats seared in a delightful brown sugar glaze. We enjoyed the first round of appetizers so much that we opted for a second round by ordering made from scratch pretzels ($5) in a wonderfully bold bier cheese dipping sauce.
For my main course I ordered the recommended German pot roast ($13) while my wife ordered the traditional schnitzel ($10). The pot roast was delicate and juicy with a surprisingly sweet flavor. The schnitzel came as a choice of veal or pork, pounded flat, and bier battered with a golden brown crust topped with mushroom “Jaeger” gravy. The German people are masters of bier batter! The schnitzel literally melted in my mouth. Yes, my wife ordered the schnitzel, but I couldn’t resist a little thievery.
With every entrée, one has the option of ordering one or two side dishes ranging from sweet red cabbage to German mashed potatoes to traditional “must haves” like spaetzle. If you have never had spaetzle you are missing out on a unique dumpling made from scratch using dough that is seasoned and pressed through a colander before being gently sautéed in butter, herbs, and spices. Dietrich’s spaetzle had a welcomed zesty citrus bite that did not overpower the freshness of the dough. It was simply delightful.
Of course no German restaurant would be complete without one of that nation’s most notable exports… beer. Dietrich’s did not disappoint with its respectable array of reasonably priced German imports crafted in some of Germany’s oldest breweries.
With half priced bier and appetizers during happy hour, (Mon-Thurs 3-6 p.m.) Dietrich’s is a great location for classy after work get-togethers. They have a separate dining room located near the Biergarten perfect for gatherings of up to 50 people.
Octoberfest is upon us and it is the perfect time to give Dietrich’s a try. Their robust flavors and skillfully crafted biers are sure to delight during this season so rich in tradition. With outstanding service and genuine care, Dietrich’s provides Lee’s Summit with a uniquely European experience that is sure to make you raise your glass and say, “Prost!” That’s German for “Cheers!”