Oodles of strudel and lots of brats
By Jennifer Wohletz
Of the top 10 reasons to eat at Dagmar's Delectables, the No. 10 reason is because, thanks to this über-yummy schnitzel den, it isn't impossible to find really good German food in Albuquerque. And if warm apple strudel is one of your favorite things, then you're in luck—they've got that in abundance.
The redoubtable Dagmar Mondragon has owned and operated her namesake restaurant for 11 years, and now has a shiny new restaurant space at the corner of Candelaria and San Pedro between Robb's Ribbs and the Daily Grind. She's come a long way from the days when she had high hopes and her first tiny storefront on Central and Carlisle, but her resilience is still present and accounted for, as evidenced by the business's recent relocation from a site on Juan Tabo.
Apparently, the old store was flooded not once, but twice. Dagmar's manager Alan said, "It was terrible! We had to throw everything away, and the second time [Mondragon] said it wasn't worth it, and we moved to the new space."
Owner and staff seem no worse for wear after their shift to dry ground, and the new building is spacious with a vaulted ceiling and a bigger dining room.
As you walk in you are greeted by the bakery case—don't walk too fast or you'll run smack into it—filled with black forest cake, sweet pastries, cookies and imported candies. The No. 9 reason to eat at Dagmar's is the homemade rum cake. Loaded with butter, nuts and sweet, sweet sailor juice, this cake is better than sex.
The menu is the same as before, offering their crowd of loyal patrons the brats, kassler, schnitzel, sauerbraten and roulade they are known for, but there are a few additions here and there like the frikadelle with salzkartoffeln: a seasoned meat patty served with red cabbage, German-style boiled potatoes, salad and rye bread.
The eighth reason to dine at Dagmar's is the fact that meat and potatoes rule, and they are given a special spot atop the pantheon of plates here.
I ordered the bratwurst broetchen ($8.99) and was again delighted by how freakin' delicious this food really is, each and every time I've eaten here. The brat was fat, meaty and had those little crispy grill marks laced across the top, and it was served on a toasty white bakery roll.
The sauerkraut is reason No. 7. It's not overpowering. Not at all. This stuff is savory, slow-cooked with chunks of succulent pork and is amazingly light on the vinegar. The German potato salad, however, has a distinct vinegary flavor, but is complemented by the salty bacon and liberal use of parsley.
Reason No. 6 to have a meal here is the jeagerschnitzel ($12.95). I was turned on to this dish awhile back: It's a big, juicy pork cutlet with a side of spaetzle (a light, tender egg noodle), both slathered with a dark, rich meat gravy. You also get their soft, aromatic German rye bread, and a mixed field green salad with their house dressing, which brings us to the fifth reason to sit down to dinner at Dagmar's: the elegant simplicity of their signature salad dressing. They combine only light canola oil and balsamic vinegar. It's so simple, but tastes like they worked on it for eons.
The fourth reason is the strudel ($3.50 a slice, $10 for a half and $20 for a whole). This traditional German dessert is like a gigantic, elongated fruit- and/or cream cheese-filled pastry. Dagmar's has an excellent selection of flavors, including apricot, raspberry, peach, cherry, cherry-pineapple, blueberry cream cheese and seasonal favorites like pumpkin and eggnog.
Dagmar's serves breakfast beginning at 7 a.m., which is not only reason No. 3 to eat there, but also an endearing quality in a world of drive-thru egg-a-whatever thingies. The breakfast menu includes a signature breakfast burrito, an asparagus omelet and a traditional German breakfast ($4.99) of boiled eggs and fresh rolls with butter and jam.
Reason No. 2 to have a seat at Dagmar's is the super-polished waitstaff, and finally, the No. 1 reason to eat at Dagmar's: Come hell or high water, the victuals remain a credit to the fare of Deutschland. But, you ask, wasn't that the first reason, too? Hey, it's my list.
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