With only three letters, two of them vowels, Uwe was the word I mispronounced most at the long-established German restaurant of the same name in Colorado Springs.

I knew I couldn't go to Uwe's without the friend who's been telling me about it for years. He's my German food authority, and Uwe's is his go-to place.

The first lesson he taught me is the importance of having a reservation. It might be difficult to believe judging from the nondescript exterior in a small strip mall in the Knob Hill neighborhood, but Uwe's German Restaurant packs them in. If you show up without a reservation, you might need a backup plan.

The popularity is easily explained: well-prepared food and exceptionally friendly service.

The lunch and dinner menus are different, with more variety (and slightly higher prices) at night. The lunch portions are large enough to spoil appetites for a later meal.

Daily lunch specials are offered throughout the week. Yet this isn't the only draw. Jaeger schnitzel, wiener schnitzel, bratwurst, goulash and sauerbraten also have appeal. I noticed several people order without opening a menu. Roulade is on the dinner menu, but I overheard a server say it doesn't hurt to ask to see if it's available at lunch - no promises, but the possibility exists.

I started with a cup of goulash ($3.50). My serving featured an impressive share of beef chunks so tender they practically melted in my mouth. The smoky paprika broth is intense - in a good way. A bowl would have made for a hearty meal with the slices of light rye bread served with every meal.

Friday's special is fish ($7.25), featuring two large pieces of lightly breaded and quick-fried white fish. Neither oily nor heavy, it's delicate in flavor and texture.

As much as I enjoyed the fish, the veal wiener schnitzel ($11.50) was even more impressive.Pounded thin, the veal is also lightly breaded and fried. The result is something remarkably tender. Two large pieces of meat practically cover the plate. With the addition of chewy spaetzel and tangy red cabbage, there was plenty to take home to enjoy again later.

Most meals include two sides, which can be substituted. The wiener schnitzel, for example, is listed as being served with mixed vegetables and fried potatoes. Other options include that house-made spaetzel, red cabbage, sauerbraten, Bavarian potato dumplings and salad. The salad is several in one: German potato salad, wax green beans, chopped cucumbers and tomatoes with a little lettuce. The dressing is simple: a light touch of vinegar.

The substantial amount of food didn't stop us from enjoying cherries with ice cream and whipped cream for dessert. This is essentially a cherry sundae made with Morellos, dark, juicy and slightly sour cherries. The balance with the ice cream was refreshing and a bit decadent.

The décor is nothing to imitate, but the three dining areas are clean and comfortable. A large table, designated the "Stammtisch," is one regulars might reserve, sitting in the main dining room. My friend said the word implies occasional heated arguments might occur.

One heads-up: The check is never brought to the table. Instead, diners go to a window that offers a peek into the kitchen to pay.

By the way, Uwe's is not pronounced ooh-way, but rather ooh-veh. Either way, it's worth making a reservation to make sure you get a table.

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