Schnitzel King really is the king of schnitzel

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Schnitzel, Chicago-style
A good thing: Chicago's food truck scene is thriving. I don't have numbers to support that or anything; rather anecdotal evidence from my visit to Schnitzel King's new storefront in Bridgeport.

So, for one thing, Schnitzel King has a new storefront in Bridgeport. They've been on wheels throughout the city since 2011, and this stationary portal from which to sell their enormous breaded-and-fried meat sandwiches (and sausages and potato salad and pierogi) is a sign they're probably doing well. No. They're definitely doing well. It's a mixed blessing.

When I stopped by at around 6:30 on a recent Monday evening, they'd had a really good day on the food truck (at the U. of C., I believe), which means they'd run out of several things.

There were no more eggs to make a Holstein—a pork or chicken schnitzel stuffed inside a Turano roll and topped with cheese, peppers, and a fried egg—nor was there any King's red sauce (i.e., house-made marinara) to go on the Saucey or Eggplant schnitzels, their take on a parmigiana preparation.

My dining companion and I must've looked like real dumpy babies when we kept trying to order things they didn't have, because we were promptly given a couple mugs of Filbert's Root Beer and a slab of liverwurst to turn our frowns upside down or whatever. The older gentleman who was taking orders—not the schnitzel king, but maybe a schnitzel maester in Game of Thrones parlance—was surprised I'd never had Filbert's before, especially since I'm "from the neighborhood." I'm not from the neighborhood, but I can see why that would be the assumption (I was wearing head-to-toe Sox gear—no, no I wasn't): Schnitzel King is strictly take-out. There's nary a chair or picnic table. Sure, you can take your food across the street to Armour Square Park, but only if you think swatting flies is extra fun. It's definitely for taking home, and taking home schnitzel is best if you live nearby. (Although we heated ours in the oven after our trip back and it was still very good.)

We did go ahead and get a start on our Chicago-style pork schnitzel, gigantic Polish sausage, chicken schnitzel fingers, and potato salad in the park, and we were reluctant to allow the flies to scare us off because everything we'd carried away from the window in that brown paper bag was so much fun.

I already said it, but the sandwiches are enormous and inexpensive to boot (sandwiches and sausages are all priced between $6 and $8). Of course, the quality of what they're serving is the most impressive part of the quantity-to-price ratio. The schnitzels are encased in a crispy, golden-brown pankolike crust and still hugely juicy inside. (I've ranted in the past about how easy it is to fuck up milanesa—same goes for schnitzel.) The oversize cutlet (folded in half) is topped with similarly large and juicy chunks of green and red bell pepper, as well as grilled onions. My dining companion was disappointed the sandwich came free of condiments (although there were packets of Gulden's on the counter), but I thought the peppers and onions provided just the right amount of moisture.

The Polish sausages are made and smoked in-house, and they rival anything I've had from Paulina Meat Market and even the Polish sausage shops on Milwaukee near my place in Avondale. Great smoke, great snap. The potato salad was a real highlight: superfresh tasting and incredibly simple. I figured it was good because they sell it by the gallon. Unfortunately, the individual servings are too small. Granted, they only cost $1, but I'd rather pay more and not feel like a pig person for ordering two.

Anyway, maybe it's good they were out of eggs and red sauce the day I visited: I have an excuse to go back, even though I don't live in the neighborhood.

Schnitzel King, 308 W. 33rd, 312-225-7250, chicagoschnitzelking.blogspot.com.

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