Saturday, August 11, 2012

Biergarten Haus

One of the most popular restaurants to open in the Atlas District, Biergarten Haus brings the feel of a traditional German beer garden - complete with Masse litres of beer, brezels, sausage and live German folk music. The place is set up with different sections - the front entrance area is decorated as a typical hunting lodge with an all wood bar and buck head on the wall. From here you can head upstairs to more regular seating area, or out back where large wooden bench seating is bountiful. The middle area is situated against the large wall where the projection screens are and flanked by the outside carriage house turned into the outside bar area. The back has the more open garden feel with large Franzikaner umbrellas for shading. Closest Metro is Union Station. 

June 2010:  World Cup fever is at its peak, so it was only fitting that the Biergarten Haus play all the games on their multiple flat screen tvs and projection screens.  We arrived around 5:30pm - the big England v. Algeria match had just ended and we thought we'd beat the main after work crowd. We were right - and were able to find our own table in the back garden area without a hitch. Unfortunately, the kitchen was closed and not set to reopen until 6pm (even though their website advertises that it would open at 5:30pm) - so we ordered a Masse litre each as we waited. We had read other reviews about the slow service and it was a little apparent that the staff was all brand new and still a little disorganized. They even asked us to move at one point to accommodate a large party of 15 (who would not all fit at our table anyways) - so I rated the overall service a 3. But give them time and I think they will get the swing of things. Our beer was very tasty, yet it seemed they still did not have the outside coolers working properly because the beer was still a little foamy and warm. After a short while it got very crowded and loud, others joined our table and then our food arrived. The portions were pretty decent, but the flavors were not all there. We have had authentic German food several times before and found this to be quite average. The sausage was surprisingly bland, the schnitzel was not prepared correctly, and the spaetzle appeared to be from out of a box a la Mac N' Cheese. Eventually they turned on the outside tvs to show the Nats game and we were happy to stay for another beer. All in all, the Biergarten Haus is a cool new edition to the area, offering a nice area to hang out for the summer and watch the games but be prepared for the crowd and possible long lines while the place is still abuzz.

June 2011: A year later, we returned and Biergarten Haus was still buzzing as ever. A Spain vs USA soccer exhibition match was playing, so it was very crowded out back. We waited less than 10 minutes to be seated at our own little barrel. The organization was much better with more servers and busboys to keep turnaround and service flowing. The menu featured more German specials, which we were happy to see. Our food came out relatively quick and were left very happy and full. The beer prices appeared to have increased, but still reasonable for the specialty selections. Overall, Biergarten Haus is still a popular place for large groups and the loud beer hall atmosphere. 

April 2012:  It was a super sunny day, so we headed over to Biergarten Haus after watching a Nationals game and it was pretty crowded already with Caps fans.  We put our name on the list, and after 10 minutes were called back.  We were seated outside, on the upper roof deck area that we were totally unaware of.  Although flat screen tvs are along the wall, they only had 3 out of 5 on the wall, because earlier forecast called for rain.  But with the larger crowds piling in, and with our specific request to see the Yankees vs Red Sox game, the staff happily obliged to bring out the other tvs.  Our drinks and food also came out super fast.  I ordered the spaetzle again, and it was much more tasty than I remember.  Keith ordered the wienerschnitzel since they were out of the pig knuckle again.  There was such a big change from two years ago - much friendlier and accommodating staff; more seating options; and the food is still good.  Therefore, I increased the rating score just a bit.  The only downside is the huge crowds, so be prepared to wait for a table or squeeze in at the bar. 

August 2012:  My cousin was in town, so Keith and I took him and his friends to Biergarten Haus for a late lunch.  We were seated upstairs and it was not as crowded as usual, which was nice.  Various Olympic games were displayed on the tvs and we had prime viewing.  We started off ordering various beers - I started with the Hofbrau Original Lager while others tried the Warsteiner Dunkel, Franziskaner Hefe-Weizen, and Konig Ludwig Hefeweizen. Most of us only order a half-liter so that we could try the various styles without getting too full.  Later I switched to Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.  Already, the guys were liking the vibe of the restaurant.  They really enjoyed the outside seating area and despite the impeding rain, were happy it was cloudy and not too sunny.  I noticed a few new items on the menu and in addition to the laugenbrezel basket, I ordered the obatza cheese dip for everyone to share.  The dip was garlicky and a bit runny, but tasty.  The brezels were much better than last time and the bier cheese was deliciously salty.  All great starters with our beers. 

Since I was filling up from all the beer and bread, I ordered a lighter vegetarian dish called New Amsterdam Honey Roasted Tomato for my main meal.  The server warned me that it was actually a sandwich, their take on a grilled cheese.  And while I did not really care for more bread, I decided to try it anyways.  It came with a side of French Fries and their "curried ketchup" that had a unique sweet flavor. The sandwich itself was surprisingly good.  I removed half of the bread to only eat the insides and loved the roasted tomatoes, they were so tender and slightly sweet from the honey glaze.  The arugula provided a lightness to the dish as well.  Keith ordered the Schweinshaxn, a crispy skin-on braised pork shank in a spicy mustard sauce.  He also picked the red cabbage and plain spaetzle for his sides.  He was so happy to get it, since they have been out of it every time before.  It was huge!  The people at the table behind us even noticed it and awed at his plate in disbelief.  Although the meat was incredibly tender and flavorful from added bacon, he felt the rendition at Cafe Berlin is a little more authentic and better.  Regardless, he was a happy camper and cleaned his plate.  My cousin ordered the  wienerschnitzel and his friends got the J├Ągerschnitzel and roasted chicken.  They all loved their dishes too and stated how this was one of the best meals they've had in a while.  I was very pleased that they enjoyed Biergarten Haus and was able to show them a little part of my neighborhood that I love so much.

Total Rating: 4.1
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 5, Accessibility: 4

What I ate: 
Obatzda
A Traditional German Dip with Camembert, Garlic & Scallions
served with Rye and Pumpernickel Bread
Photo: Biergarten Haus website
New Amsterdam Honey Roasted Tomato
Aged Danish Cheese paired with Honey Roasted Tomatoes
and fresh Arugula on Grilled Artisanal Sour-Dough
served with French Fries

 Laugenbrezel
Traditional Bavarian pretzel Rolls
Served warm with a traditional bier cheese and mustard

J├Ągerschnitzel
Lightly breaded and fried pork cutlet served with “Hunter sauce” 
made of mushrooms, bacon, onions, and red wine. 
Served with spaetzle and asparagus 

 Spaetzle mit Ziegenkase
 in a goat cheese sauce sprinkled with toasted pretzel bits 

Plus Keith ate:
Schweinshaxn
A Crispy Skin-On Braised Pork Shank & Spicy Mustard Sauce

 Three Wurst Platter
 Bratwurst (pork sausage, caraway, garlic), Knackwurst (pork and beef), 
Weisswurst (white pork and veal) served with warm potato salad
 or potato pancake and sauerkraut 

Wienerschnitzel
lightly breaded and pan fried veal cutlet served with lemon and parsley
with potato salad and sauerkraut


Biergarten Haus on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. Great review on this place! Definitely deserved a 5 for ambiance. I can't wait to have another Franziskaner - all the beers were delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I really like it there. They usually have about a dozen more specialty beers on tap during Oktoberfest too.

      Delete

Pin It button on image hover