When the Bavarian Chalet restaurant in Ogden closed years back, I was a bit bummed out because it signaled the end of German fare along the Wasatch Front for all practical purposes. I mean, sure, Siegfried’s Delicatessen in Salt Lake City is perfectly fine – I really like their schnitzel, spätzle and Reuben – but it’s a cafeteria-style eatery, not a spot for a cozy sit-down dinner like the Bavarian Chalet was.
Well, that problem was remedied in the summer of 2019 with the opening of Weller’s Bistro in Layton. I’ve written about Jan Weller’s namesake restaurant before, but in the past year or so it has become a real favorite of my wife’s and mine – a go-to eatery not just because the food is so good, but because the staff is so welcoming and friendly; plus the place just has a really nice vibe. So I’m revisiting Weller’s Bistro in this week’s Utah Bites because since writing about it last year, I’ve been able to enjoy many more excellent meals there and dishes I haven’t written about yet.
Weller’s has an honest neighborhood feel and I’ve never been there when the owner, Jan, wasn’t. He, along with top-notch employees like Scotty, Natalie and Braden make visiting Weller’s an absolute joy. Even if you’re not in the mood for a big meal – and the portions here are very generous – you could belly up to the small bar in front for a lager or cocktail and a pizza or perhaps just a pretzel.
And by the way, you definitely want to order the pretzel at Weller’s Bistro. It’s a large, scrumptious pretzel baked in-house, seasoned with kosher salt and served with sweet pickle slices, plus whole grain mustard sauce and beer cheese for dipping. I could eat the beer cheese all by itself, it’s so addictive. Other appetizers include artichoke dip with toasted baguette slices, Alpine cheese fondue, deviled eggs, and Alsatian flammkuchen: flatbread with red onions, scallions, speck and creme fraiche.
Although Jan Weller hails from Germany and Weller’s Bistro specializes in German cuisine, that’s not all that is available. Weller’s runs weekly specials, for example, which range from dishes like limoncello airline chicken with sauteed yellow squash and portobello-shiitake risotto, to pan-seared branzino with saffron cream sauce. And, there are lunch sandwich specials and Sunday brunch specials as well. Speaking of specials, it is my secret wish – because Weller’s sauerkraut is so good – that Jan might put Alsatian choucroute garnie on his menu as a special. It’s a lot of work, but that would make me so happy!
The soups and salads portion of the menu includes a wedge salad, soup of the day, potato & leek soup, and a hearty winter salad made with kale, beets, cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, goat cheese and walnuts with a cranberry vinaigrette. From the sandwich section of the menu, it’s hard to beat the Reuben at Weller’s, with hot pastrami, Swiss cheese, jalapeño sauerkraut, and Russian dressing on marbled rye with a choice of side dish.
My default dish at Weller’s Bistro is called Das Schnitzel. It’s boneless pork loin pounded thin and cooked with parmesan breading and comes with a choice of lemon caper beurre blanc, creamy mushroom sauce, or a bell pepper and onion sauce (zigeunersauce). The schnitzel also is served with rotkohl and bratkartoffeln alongside; that’s braised red cabbage with apple and roasted potatoes with onions and speck, respectively.
Another outstanding dish is the goulash, which is a take on a Weller family recipe. It is melt in the mouth tender stewed beef with mushrooms cooked in a paprika-spiked stew. Jan Weller told me that there are some 30 or so spices and seasonings in his goulash. Whatever is in there, the flavor is very complex and the goulash comes with delicious homemade spätzle and classic sauerkraut (Grandma’s recipe). Additional German dishes at Weller’s include beef rouladen; frikadellen, which is German-style beef & pork meatballs; and a favorite of my wife: hühnerfrikassee – chicken fricassee with mushrooms, peas, asparagus, and dill rice.
This past Saturday night we ventured away from the German fare and tried the chili-glazed mahi-mahi, which was terrific. It’s a plate of pan-seared mahi-mahi with a sweet chili glaze and lemon butter sauce, served with perfectly cooked green beans garnished with slivered almonds, as well as a generous portion of dill rice. Another tempting non-German menu item is fettuccine with sauteed striploin steak slices, gorgonzola, mushrooms, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes.
For dessert, there’s usually cheesecake, creme brulee, and apple strudel available at Weller’s. However, if you see bienenstich on the menu, by all means order some! It’s scrumptious “German bee sting cake” with gorgeous honey and almond flavors and a luscious creamy stuffing.
In addition to in-house dining and takeout, Weller’s Bistro is now offering catering services. So the next time you’re planning a wedding, party, meeting, or other event that deserves fabulous food and service, keep Weller’s in mind.
Culinary quote of the week: “Sauerkraut and bacon drive all care away.” – German Proverb
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THIS CONTENT IS FROM UTAH BITES NEWSLETTER.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
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