Brunch in the Alps

Take a ride out to Richmond and discover the wonders of old-fashioned Swiss cooking

On our way home, I dragged my companions to a charming retail establishment called Wild West World, where I admired a clever string of shotgun-shell Christmas lights that I want to get for the tree next year.

I made my first visit to Karl's at the Riverbend during the holidays, and I must say they do quite a job with the Christmas decorations. Their towering tree had some of those old-fashioned glass bubble lights. I hadn't seen those in years. The food seemed perfect for holiday feasting, too.

When it comes to wild game cooking, Karl 
Camenzind's place really shines.
Troy Fields
When it comes to wild game cooking, Karl Camenzind's place really shines.

Location Info


Karl's at the Riverbend

5011 FM 723
Richmond, TX 77469

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Richmond/Rosenberg


Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Sunday brunch: $15.95
Wild game mixed grill: $27.95
Prime rib: $28.95
Quail and shrimp: $18.95
Salmon Florentine: $22.95

5011 FM 723, Richmond, Texas 281-238-9300.

The dinner menu at Karl's, which is long on wild game and red meat with German-style accompaniments, reminds me of the offerings at the now-defunct Rotisserie for Beef and Bird. Wild game dinners run in the $24-to-$34 range and include fruit and vegetable garnishes and your choice of soup or salad, along with baked potato, rice or spaetzle. I got the wild game mixed grill, which includes one Popsicle-size quail, a wild boar chop that tastes a lot like a pork chop and a spectacular rare venison steak. The wild boar chop and venison steak look so much alike, the kitchen puts an apple fritter on top of the boar so you can tell them apart. The spaetzle, served without any gravy, is boring.

One of my three dining companions sampled the roast prime rib, which was a huge no-surprises slab of juicy beef. The other two didn't order red meat, and they were suitably punished with blandness. The coq au vin, which bore no resemblance to the French dish of gamy cock slow-cooked in red wine, was instead an all-American boneless, skinless chicken breast with some mushrooms cooked in Burgundy. The quail and beer-batter shrimp turned out to be a tasty bird sautéed with Marsala and four shrimp in a way-too-thick coating of bready batter, which my companion removed before eating the shrimp.

Overall, the dinner menu proved uneven. If I were to return to Karl's for dinner, I would go on a cold winter night and get an over-the-top entrée like elk steak with wild mushrooms in Scotch and peppercorn sauce or venison cognac schnitzel. This is the kind of robust wild game cookery where Karl's talents really shine. If you're going to order something middle-of-the-road here, you might as well go Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, when Karl's at the Riverbend has a "neighborhood menu" of items like bratwurst, pork chops, liver and onions and chicken-fried steak, all priced at around $10.

But the best idea of all is to take a drive out to Karl's on a sunny Sunday afternoon. (Make a reservation; the place books up solid in nice weather.) You're bound to enjoy Karl's old-fashioned Sunday brunch buffet because there's something for everyone. And anyway, your motorcycle probably needs the exercise.

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