The Little Bavarian Restaurant
BY JOSH TYLER
Two things are apparent when you first walk through the doors of the Little Bavarian Restaurant; authenticity matters to the owners, and many regular patrons support it.
The wooden fixtures throughout the dining area would look as appropriate in any neighborhood German gasthaus in Germany as in this small eatery. The authenticity is then echoed by the number of customers who speak German.
The décor drips nostalgia. For those who know the difference, Bavaria (Bayern) and specifically Franken is the most prominently represented region. Whether you be a Bayern/München Football fan or a service member that was stationed in Germany, you’ll find something that pulls you right back to the time you spent there.
The décor, coupled with the broad use of the language, transports the diner to Germany before they have their first beer.
The dining area seats around forty guests closely. There was a table in the corner near the kitchen where a few couples were seated. They were undoubtedly regulars, as the wait staff largely ignored them unless one of them required a refill. The cozy dining area was full of lively conversation about aircraft in the gulf war.
It was endearing to see the veterans reliving their past experiences. They sat at the table clad in hats and t-shirts that portrayed the branch they served in or the conflict they fought in.
There was just enough room between the table we were seated at and the table with the vets to move around comfortably to use the bathroom. There was a large table in the center that was reserved for a party. As the party filtered in later in the evening, one of the guests stated that it was her Oma’s birthday party.
The beer selection is also reminiscent of a regular neighborhood gasthaus. The beer offered on tap is a hefeweizen, lager, or pilsener. The server may provide additional selections bottled in the back. A Dornfelder rose wine was offered at the beginning of the service at a discounted price.
I declined, but with a cursory inspection of the bottle, it was imported from the Frankisches Weinland. I debated taking it home. After being seated and providing our drink orders, we had the option of potato pancakes or pretzels as our appetizers.
We ordered two pretzels to share between the four of us. The large baked pretzels were served with German-style mustard and whipped butter with herbs. The whipped herb butter was delicious. I made a mental note to come back in the spring to see if they offered a whipped butter spread with tomatoes and herbs – typical in the Franconian area that the restaurant is modeled after.
Three of us ordered the schweinebraten with knodel and blaukraut. Classically, it’s a roast pork dish smothered in a savory sauce. The knodel is a potato starch dumpling, and the blaukraut is a fermented red cabbage side dish. The blaukraut was not as sour as I prefer, and a bit sweet for my taste.
The knodel was delicious, and the thin slices of roast pork were smothered in a thick, peppery gravy. My daughter had ordered the kase spaetzle with sliced bratwurst. The kase spaetzle is essentially German mac and cheese; hers had a sliced sausage to add protein to the meal at the server's recommendation. The dinner was served with a few rolls and pats of butter.
I was slightly disappointed when the butter that came out wasn’t the herb butter served with pretzels. As the dining area filled, and there were no seats left by 6:30, plate after plate of schnitzel (fried breaded pork cutlet) was shuttled out of the kitchen area to diners throughout the restaurant.
It was overwhelmingly the more popular dish served to patrons. The presentation of the golden fried schnitzel served with a variety of sides made my mouth water even as I finished my meal. I’ve already marked my calendar for another visit.
After the dinner service, we were offered either a slice of apple strudel or a piece of German chocolate cake. My son ordered the strudel, and my daughter ordered the chocolate cake. The chocolate cake was the centerpiece when the waiter returned with the desserts. Both deserts were of sufficient portion; however, the slice of cake was more than generous.
My wife and daughter raved over how fluffy yet rich the cake was.As we concluded dinner, the restaurant was packed.It took a while for the waiter to get back to us to settle the bill.We had decided to go ahead and vacate the table as customers were standing near the door waiting for a table to open.I waited near the cash register for the single server to ring up my bill.The price was more than fair for a night with four adults.
Overall, we enjoyed the meal and the company.Both the staff and the other patrons were friendly.The atmosphere of the small restaurant created an authentic dining experience. Instead of diving right into the schweinebraten, I would recommend trying out the schnitzel.I enjoyed the hefeweizen, and they do serve liter steins of beer.They get busy early on the weekends – so make a reservation.