As one of Marquette’s newest restaurants, Das Steinhaus is getting a lot of well-deserved press. While we can’t promise not to say some things that have already been said about the place, that’s mostly because these things bear repeating. Here’s a quick look at Das Steinhaus.
Das Steinhaus’s Front Street location has a long history of foodie-friendliness. The restaurant, a joint venture by three Northern Michigan University graduates, replaced a well-regarded Thai restaurant that had closed after its owner returned to the old country. Its mid-2013 opening was intentionally low-key, but it quickly gained a reputation for doing two things exceptionally well: 1) serving unpretentious, authentic German cuisine with a highbrow twist, and 2) curating an extensive stock of otherwise hard to find beers, wines, spirits and cocktails. Das Steinhaus’s long, narrow customer area isn’t large, but it’s laid out well, with a line of tables leading to a compact bar area. The kitchen is partially open, so patrons can glimpse the chef and his crew at work – and, more importantly, get a whiff of what they’re working on. Oh, and the restaurant is located in the historic Harlow Block, one of downtown Marquette’s iconic landmarks.
That’s the setup. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons why you should stop by the next time you’re in the neighborhood.
Unless you show up every night, you probably won’t see the same menu twice. While items like jaeger schnitzel and schweinshaxe are more or less constant – along with side dishes like sauerkraut and spaetzle – everything else changes in accordance with the chef’s whims. Even the three brat selections rotate. One week might feature cheese brats, the next beer brats. It’s a good problem to have. What’s even better is the menu’s decidedly local focus. While Marquette County can’t supply every single thing on Das Steinhaus’s menu, the chef is vocal about using as many local ingredients as possible.
From Weihenstepaner – the world’s oldest brewery! – to Greenbush, Das Steinhaus has its fair share of draft and bottled beers. But it’s not all about the beer here. There’s an extensive wine list that focuses heavily on European wines, including some lesser-known varietals from Austria, as well as a cocktail menu that features classic creations with a U.P. twist (maple syrup old fashioneds, anyone?) Don’t be fooled by the German pedigree – there’s plenty for people who don’t drink beer at Das Steinhaus.
While we’re on the subject of alcohol, let’s talk about Das Steinhaus’s happy hour – the “very happy hour,” as it’s known here. Between 1 and 6 p.m., steins (16 ounce pours) and imported bottles are $1 off. With several reasonably priced appetizers and sides – the German pretzels are wildly popular – it’s easy to lose track of time on lazy afternoons. The downside is that Das Steinhaus is currently closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but this could change in the future.
Here’s a great reason to get up early – but not too early – on Sundays: Das Steinhaus’s brunch, which currently runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The brunch menu rotates regularly as well, but perennial favorites like the fisherman’s breakfast (perch with eggs and toast) and eggs benedict are hard to beat. The liquid side of brunch is worth noting, too; it’s hard to beat the mimosas and bloody marys here. And if the noon hour is too early for alcohol, Das Steinhaus makes a mean coffee americano, courtesy of Dead River Coffee.
Das Steinhaus’s executive chef has a degree from New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education; its bar manager put in his dues at Northern’s hospitality program (and at a hotel bar in Australia, among other pit stops). Translation: they both know their stuff. Das Steinhaus’s recent Restaurant Week tasting menu featured such novelties as (raw) scallop crudo and wine-braised leg of lamb. Meanwhile, its April 1 – not an April Fools trick, don’t worry – beer dinner paired five courses with seven Founder’s beers, including a couple of limited-release varieties that aren’t widely available in the U.P. On April 12, its Angry Bear celebration found barrel-aged beers from the Ore Dock alongside grilled brats, courtesy of the restaurant’s kitchen crew. And these events are just the beginning. With expanded hours and a constantly changing menu, it’s clear that Das Steinhaus will continue to push the envelope.
If you’re not ready to spend an evening (or late morning, or afternoon) at Das Steinhaus, we’re not sure what more we can say. For everyone else: Next time you’re in our neck of the woods, you know where to find excellent food and drink with a modern German flair.