COVINGTON, Ky. - This week Julie Niesen Gosdin, the voice behind the food blog wine me, dine me , visits a neighborhood bar much like one that might be found in Munich to sample a signature menu item just right for a city so deeply rooted in Germany.
- Where: 1132 Lee St., Covington, KY 41011
- What: Neighborhood bar crossed with all of your favorite German specialties
- Food: Doner kebab
- Price range: $5-10
Wunderbar! is a neighborhood bar: dark (even in the daytime) with a long, dark bar and picnic tables. They serve German food, but not Oktoberfest-style, but closer to the stuff you'd get in Germany: currywurst, giant pretzels, dumplings and gravy, sauerkraut, and more. There's an array of beers on tap, beers in bottles and cans, and the front end of an old VW Bus for the kids (or you!) to pose in while you're waiting for your meal. It's amazingly kid-friendly, but also a great place for adults to hang out.
The secret is in the sauce
Doner kebab is one of those things I've loved to eat when I travel, but can never find in the States. You may say, "Julie, you can get a gyro!" It's not quite the same! Doner kebab is, at its heart, a gyro: sliced lamb, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers-- but the sauce is where there's a difference.
Instead of cool tzatziki, doner kebabs feature a garlic sauce and, in general, fluffier bread. Sometimes, a hot chili sauce is added as well. The sauce at Wunderbar! is a combination of both. It's delightfully spicy and takes me straight back to Munich. It's enough to share, but you won't want to. I recommend a side of Brussels sprouts!
Why should you try it?
Wunderbar! serves authentic German food in a great atmosphere. For a German town with a noted lack of German restaurants, this is a fun take on food you may have tried on vacation or during a study abroad. And if you haven't been to Germany but love gyros, this is a great way to expand your "street meat" vocabulary.
Fun fact: While we in Cincinnati think of a bratwurst as typical German street food, the most popular food isn't a sausage at all: it's the doner kebab. There is a huge Turkish population in Germany, which embraced the doner kebab, and now you can find them at stands in any major cities.