Golden Europe Has More Schnitzel Than the Rest of Denver's Restaurants Combined

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The Palla family has been serving Czech, German and Polish cuisine in this homey location in Arvada for close to twenty years. The exterior of the building has been transformed into a quaint cottage, while the interior boasts a blond wood and dusty rose scheme reminiscent of a grandmother's kitchen, with the addition of Slavic and Teutonic decorative flourishes and rough-hewn ceiling beams. The menu is extensive and intriguing (if you like big cuts of meat and sausage bolstered by creamy sauces), but I flipped directly to the schnitzel page. Yes, Golden Europe's menu has an entire page of schnitzel options, with three meats -- chicken, pork and veal -- and a number of preparations, based mostly on the sauce ladled over the breaded cutlets. The pork version comes plain or as jager schnitzel (smothered in mushroom gravy and onions), svickova schnitzel (with a sour cream sauce) or Dijon mustard schnitzel. There's a fancy version of the chicken, too, called Vienna schnitzel -- not to be confused with wiener schnitzel -- that's loaded with Swiss cheese and mushroom gravy. The menu lists two sides for each schnitzel. My jager schnitzel came with a mound of sauerkraut flecked with caraway seed and a pile of plain spaetzle, the fat little noodles trying hard to be dumplings. But before the platter of food even arrives, there's soup or salad included in the cost of each entree. Golden Europe's sausage and lentil soup is rich and filling enough to stand on its own, much less as the starter for a heavy meal.

The schnitzel itself was cut thick but offered little resistance to knife and fork. The fine-crumbed breading was light and crisp but held up well to the glossy mushroom gravy. A pile of sauteed onions all but obscured the cutlet, despite its size. Pan-fried spaetzle with butter-crisped edges are a thing of beauty, but Golden Europe's are simply boiled and buttered -- hearty country fare, but lacking in flavor or texture. Keep reading for more on Golden Europe.

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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation