Bar Eats: Bierhaus
Lederhosen? Colossal steins of Hofbräu? Drunken renditions of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver? What could very well be Oktoberfest is actually the newly opened Bierhaus, an Alpine-inspired beer hall styled in the spirit of Germany's favorite holiday.
If you're not with a group of friends, form a coalition with one of the communal tables and order the Wilhelm Sampler Platter ($28), a shareable plate of pretzels, potato pancakes, wieners, sauerkraut and red cabbage designed to soak up the blow of several rounds of beer.
The crowd favorite is indisputably Bierhaus' soft-dough pretzels, warm and chewy and perfect dipped into a side of sweet Bavarian mustard. The pretzels also hold up nicely to a side of Bier Cheese ($4), a house-made cheese and beer spread with a nice sharp flavor.
Fans of fried food will instinctively reach for the sauerkraut balls, a mixture of sauerkraut and ham that has been lightly battered and fried to a crisp on the outside, leaving a gooey and flavorful center. Potato pancakes are also worth a try; a dip into the apple horseradish sauce adds the brightness that is needed in these patties.
A forkful of potato salad, which has a pleasant vinegary tang to it, tempers the heaviness of the carb-heavy platter. A bite of the sweet red cabbage also helps even out the starch overload. The only thing we would change on the platter is the wieners, a cheap afterthought to an otherwise delicious plate of bar food—given the option, we would have substituted the juicy bratwurst, which looked far more substantial.
Not that you need any more food—a few steins of Hofbräu and there will be little room for much else.
About the author: Nancy Huang, who comes to New York by way of Los Angeles, writes The Wanderkind, a food and travel blog of adventures here and abroad. She loves noodles, subway maps, and word games.