Last week, I kept things domestic with a taste of Louisiana, but this week we’re venturing back across the pond to Unter Biergarten for a proper German feast. This week’s assistant critic was Dan, who studied abroad in Germany for four months. He was coming into this with high expectations, and thus was a great authority in helping to evaluate these German selections.
For our starter, we decided to go with the meat board, which ended up being quite an impressive spread. My biggest surprise of the night was the liverwurst.
I had never eaten liver before, so I will admit that I was just the tiniest bit apprehensive, but I am so glad I went for it. It was creamy, salty, and a little smokey with a subdued meaty flavor, which was all around pretty satisfying. I liked it a lot more than I expected. Dan agreed this one was a winner, and also noted that the bread served alongside the liverwurst was “the perfect bread for eating spreads.” It had a crispy exterior with nice grill marks and a soft, fluffy center.
Another surprise of the night was the head cheese on the meat board. It was another item I was a bit hesitant to try. The meat was moist and tender, almost reminiscent of pulled pork in its texture. It was creamy and fatty and had a luxurious, rich silkiness.
The final meat product on the meat board was some sort of a sausage with cranberries in it (I did not catch what it really was). I liked this one a lot as well. It was peppery and a tiny bit sweet. The texture was smooth and moist and neither crumbly nor dry in the slightest. As for sides, the cranberry mostarda was a bit too pungent for my liking, but I much enjoyed the fresh, crisp, acidic pickled vegetables, which helped to balance out the fatty meats.
Onto entrees. I think that my currywurst had some room for improvement but, nonetheless, I enjoyed it greatly. The weisswurst was extremely moist, tender, and light, which was perfect for keeping the dish from getting too heavy with all of the rich sauce slathered on top. It had a subtle meaty flavor — but it was mainly bland, which was disappointing. However, with all of the sauce on top of it, it wasn’t too big of a deal that the sausage was plain.
Speaking of the sauces, I love how generously dressed the sausage was. There was enough sauce to sufficiently coat each bite of sausage and plenty left over for french fry dipping. The garlic aioli was creamy, and the curry ketchup was smooth and rich, but it could have had more curry flavor. Back to the aforementioned “beef fat fried potato wedges” — I loved them. They were wonderfully salty and crispy on the outside, yet soft and buttery on the inside.
And now, it’s time for Dan’s thoughts — of which, as I mentioned earlier on, there were a lot. Right off the bat, Dan said that although “they have the standards,” he was not impressed by Unter Biergarten’s beer menu because he believes that a true Biergarten needs a larger ratio of German to non-German beers. That said, he did admit that the beer he got reminded him of being back in Germany, so I think he can take a chill pill. He was equally unimpressed with his schnitzel. He said that although the pork was cooked well, the coating was not crispy, everything was bland, and the dish was not worth his $20.
Ultimately, Unter Biergarten is sending some mixed signals, but I was still happy with my food. I think they could get much bolder with the flavors, but they’ve got lots of wonderful things going on for them. Not a superlike, but at least a pleasant swipe right.