By Graham von Carlowitz
Oxford is home to one of the more authentic German eateries you’ll find in the region: Steinkeller Bavarian Bier Hall. Having said that, it’s one of Steinkeller’s non-German dishes that is worth a try.
Created in the depths of the culinary laboratory, also known as the kitchen, in Steinkeller about three weeks ago was a behemoth of a burger called the Big Easy. Sure, the already non-German dish is named after America’s most French-influenced quarter in New Orleans. But forget anything you think might be on this burger — its name deceives the eye.
By no means is the burger easy — not to pay for (though $13 isn’t too bad), not to chew, not to finish. Even the online description downplays the burger’s might.
“Our Reserve Run Farm Burger, grilled to order, served open-faced on sourdough, smothered with bacon and brat sausage gravy, shredded cheddar cheese, beef bacon strips and a fried egg. Served with french fries.”
(The Reserve Run Farm Burger is locally grown and locally enjoyed, thanks to the hormone-and antibiotic-free practices of Oxford’s own Johnson family.)
What they don’t tell you is that it’s open-faced because no one in their right mind would try wrapping their outstretched mouth over the mountain of meat. That’d be like trying to bite into a whole cake. It’s just too much.
Yet, it is just enough — if you haven’t eaten in three days, that is. I was present in the kitchen last week when three Big Easy’s were ordered by three very brave customers. “That’s the kind of thing you couldn’t eat elegantly,” I heard one of the servers say.
He was right. Standing there, admiring the trinity of greasy goodness, I wondered what a German might think were he to step foot in the underground restaurant. Then I remembered that we’re in America, where bigger means better.
So, if you’re in the mood for some authentic German food, good. Go ahead and stop by Steinkeller. If you’re not in the mood for authentic German food, stick around. The Big Easy may take a little extra time to prepare, but it is surely worth the extra wait. And the extra weight.
Edited by Ryer Gardenswartz