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Preview West Town’s Ambitious New German Restaurant

Mark Steuer’s Funkenhausen will feature large plates and German wine

Cabbage rolls with beef tartare, mustard seeds, and black truffle aioli
Elizabeth Atkinson

The opening for chef Marc Steuer’s (Carriage House, El Che Bar) new German restaurant has been pushed back from the fall to early 2018 in West Town. Funkenhausen is touted as a big beer hall with traditional German dishes including an array of dishes that — surprise — aren’t all sausages. On Monday, the Funkenhausen team held a pop-up at acclaimed Humboldt Park steakhouse Boeufhaus for a menu preview. Eater Chicago stopped by to see what’s in store for the new restaurant at 1708 W. Chicago Avenue.

The tart flambée with pork fat pastry and speck

1. Beer won’t be the only thing on the menu:

GM Robert Diaz (Acadia, Elizabeth) has curated a list of German wines that blew him away during a trip to Germany. From sparkling whites to a surprisingly clear but full-bodied Pinot Noir, the eight-course meal was paired with wine instead of beer. Diaz said that he loved the wines he found in Germany and is excited to share them with Chicago, even though wine is not the first thing most people think of when they think of German food, these are stellar and not to be overlooked.

2. There are plenty of dishes available that aren’t just sausages:

From massive schnitzel to a light but cheesy spaetzle, there will be a variety of dishes that aren’t just sausages — and they’re delicious. Eater’s favorites from the meal included a tart flambée with a pork fat pastry and speck and wildgoulash — a goulash with a tender venison and chanterelle mushrooms.

The Back to Baden with mushroom elixir

3. The cocktail list will feature some out-of-the-box ingredients:

The pop-up had a small list of three cocktails available, all of which will be available in variations at Funkenhausen when it opens. The list had a few surprising ingredients like a mushroom elixir combined with a lapsang souchong-infused gin and egg white. There was also a cocktail with scotch and sparkling riesling, to give a different perspective on scotch.

Spaetzel with gruyere

4. The dishes will be bigger than what’s being shown at pop-ups:

This pop-up, in particular, was an eight-course sampling with wine pairings, giving a more upscale feel to the food. However, at the actual restaurant the dishes will be much larger and in some cases, big enough for sharing (looking at you, schnitzel). But that won’t change the level of execution, just because this is a beer hall and brasserie, the food will still have a bit of a fancy feel.

5. There will be more previews:

There’s a pop-up in the works with Zoë Schor of Split Rail in West Town followed potentially (emphasis on potentially) by post-pop-up-drinks at the Funkenhausen space.

Wildgoulash with venison