“In nineteenth-century Russia, sauerkraut was valued more than caviar.” — Mark Kurlansky
The Sled Haus has been on my radar for several months, and I finally got there on the day that the season’s first snowflakes drifted from the sky. The Lead eatery’s façade is true to its name, a long, low angled-roofed building that would be home in any non-gentrified mountain town. A friend and I stopped in for lunch on a Tuesday. We’d tried the day before, but it’s closed on Mondays. Too bad, because (spoiler alert) we would have probably gone back a second time.
The restaurant’s interior is dark and cozy, decorated with photos and memorabilia and clever signs. The tables and chairs are homey and rustic. At the far end is a bar, behind which is a chalkboard wall scrawled with the extensive beer list. Keeping with the theme of the establishment, I ordered an Ayinger Oktoberfest from the list of German beers. My friend, a devout Coors Light drinker, was feeling saucy and let our server (who I believe was also the owner) choose a brew for her. She recommended the Paulaner Original, which went over very well. Apparently a taste of the Alps, as opposed to the Rockies.
The menu was populated with sandwiches and burgers, in addition to a couple of German-inspired selections. We were pretty darn hungry and amongst strangers, so we went ahead and ordered the Bratwurst Platter, in addition to the Pizza Burger and Black Forest sandwich for lunch. While we waited for our meal, other diners came and went, all of whom were greeted warmly and most of whom were called by name.
After about 15 minutes, our food arrived, smelling glorious. We started with the Pizza Burger, because anything on a bun slathered with marinara sauce has a finite amount of time before it becomes mush. The bun was lightly toasted, which helped it maintain its integrity, but the bottom was definitely not long for this world. Good thing it was too delicious to put down. It was on the messy end of the spectrum, sure, but I know how to use a napkin. The sauce was rich and zesty atop a layer of pepperoni and melted mozzarella. Underneath, the burger remained a prominent player in the flavor profile. I definitely appreciated that the “burger” in Pizza Burger wasn’t merely a vehicle for bolder toppings.
Next, we moved on to the Black Forest sandwich. Like the burger, this sandwich was served without a side. But considering its size, that didn’t really matter. The bread was soft and filled with pastrami, bacon, melted Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. The combination was positively mouthwatering – salty, savory, smoky, and a little sweet. We left a little bit of bread behind, but like the burger, we gobbled it right down.
Unlike many sauerkrauts I’ve eaten, it was soft and slightly sweet, even a little appley. I enjoy most sauerkrauts, but this was the best I’ve ever had.
glad that the brats and potatoes were there, but the kraut was stand-alone outstanding. When we asked our server what made it so delicious, she replied that it’s a secret recipe. That won’t stop me from trying to replicate it at home, but it will ensure that I order it again when I return on my next trip to Lead.
When ordering, we expected to need a box or two. But in light of the deliciousness, my friend and I ate nearly everything put in front of us. I’m not proud of our gluttony, but I am satisfied. And I’d do it all again.
I’m not proud of our gluttony, but I am satisfied. And I’d do it all again.
If you like food that tastes good, go here. I will make a point of returning again and again.
It’s a little divey, but for me, that’s perfect. It’s not pretentious, but has great food and a huge selection of imported and craft beers. If I lived in Lead, I’d be a regular.
Our server made great recommendations. She was friendly and present, without hovering.
Everything we ordered was outstanding. I’m still thinking about that sauerkraut.
IT'S THE FACT
Much of The Sled Haus’s menu, including the sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and coleslaw, is made from scratch.
The Sled Haus only accepts cash, but there is an ATM for people (like us) who forget to bring some. Bring cash, though, as the charge is $3.50.
December 3 at 7 p.m. The Sled Haus is hosting local makers for an evening of holiday shopping, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and a tree lighting.