I may still be full from this meal and I ate it a week ago.
The Better Half has been obsessed with going to this place ever since he heard Mo Egger talk about it on the radio during a segment with Donna Covrett from Cincinnati Magazine. His personal top ten was featured in the March issue of the magazine, and included such favorites as Nada (though apparently he hates everything about it but the food), Quatman’s, and Terry’s Turf Club but also had one place I hadn’t heard of: Kreimer’s Bier Haus West. And what do they specialize in? German food and a steak that “rivals anything that the cool kids at Jeff Ruby’s are overpaying for.” The Better Half was sold on the steak and I was sold on outdoor, riverside dining, so we dropped the top on the car and took a spin down 74 towards Cleves (which is much closer to downtown than I’d remembered). It was the perfect evening to spend some time outside, and we figured that Kreimer’s would be a good place to do it. If the food wasn’t good, hey, at least we had beer and fresh air, right?
Kreimer’s is a chalet off the Cleves exit of 74, right on the banks of the Great Miami River. There’s plenty of parking, and you have a few choices for dining: at the bar, in the dining room, on the patio, or at the grill which should open soon– it is directly next to the river and created for sports watching and drinking. It looks like it could be fun. We decided to start with a beer at the bar while we waited a few minutes for an outside table. Warsteiner brews two beers for Kreimer’s: Bier Haus Light Ale and Bier Haus Dark Ale. The Better Half tried the light (it was good) and I had my first Leinenkugel Summer Shandy as we watched a little March Madness. Our table was quickly available, so we settled up and moved outside.
The view was nice, and the outdoor dining is covered, so it’s not too sunny. There’s no smoking either (often a problem with outdoor dining). We settled in and took a look at the menu. Part of it was German-inspired, the rest more American– steaks, chops, chicken. First, we ordered an appetizer: Reuben-style potato skins. These were OK– a bit too much potato, the skins weren’t crispy, but the corned beef was pretty good. It’s also offered on a sandwich, which I’d definitely try next time. I don’t think I’ll do an appetizer in the future, as the dinner portions are so generous.
As I knew that The Better Half was going for a steak, I took a look at some of the German fare. It’s really more Oktoberfest inspired than traditional German. I settled on a mett sausage with “homemade bier cheese”, onions, sauerkraut and pickles– kind of a “mess plate meets Oktoberfest” and our waitress’ favorite dish. It also came with a choice of salad: spinach, Caesar or hot slaw. I chose the hot slaw, which was a fairly standard slaw with bacon dressing (and a childhood favorite of mine, admittedly). My entree closely followed, and it was huge– the mett was as long as the plate and (I swear this wasn’t on the menu) deep fried. The fried onions and the pickles were good, as well as the bier cheese (though not heavy on the “bier”, despite the name of the restaurant), but I couldn’t do more than two bites of the deep fried sausage– it was just a bit too much.
We also tried their potato pancakes, which come with a serving of cinnamon apples. The potato pancake was very good– well seasoned, dense with shredded potato and just the right amount of crispiness. The cinnamon apples were cooked to a step away from being applesauce, but the flavor was very good.
The Better Half had the right idea by honing in on the steak. He chose the Bourbon-glazed steak, rare, with a spinach salad and a loaded baked potato. It also came with a serving of vegetables. The spinach salad, served in a pewter bowl (reminded me of some West Side restaurant of my childhood– I’m not sure which one, maybe Maury’s?) was otherwise unremarkable, and the vegetables were a bit overcooked, but the steak? The steak was perfect. They cut their meat by hand in-house, and they take good care of it– the rare was perfectly rare (most places err a bit on the medium-rare side), with just enough time on the grill to get great flavor but preserve juiciness. The bourbon sauce– skip it, it’s basically barbecue sauce– and get something like mushrooms and onions, or just eat it unadorned. It’s a great value for steak– they don’t quite get that Ruby’s spicy crust, but it is really worth the trip. Mo, you were right.
Kreimer’s gets very busy on beautiful nights, so get there early. We arrived a bit before 7 and had a minimal wait, but the place got packed shortly thereafter. Grab a giant beer (or two) and settle in to a juicy steak. You’ll barely spend $50 for two people. Maybe the cool kids will hang out at Kreimer’s?