Observations on Food in the Bay Area
website - at the corner of Hayes and Laguna in Hayes Valley, it's a very whitewashed, rather loud and quite simple, basic space with big unfinished hardwood tables. Clearly utilitarian, guests are intended to get in, drink fantastic German beer, and eat some hearty German food. Suppenkuche is as authentic a German restaurant as you're likely to find in the bay area. There will be no wine commentary in this writeup, for here there is too much beer to drink!
A quick writeup of what I drank:
Butten Alt - rich, medium dark, and a bit sweet. A good, hearty, drinkin' beer.
Kostritzer swartzbier - lighter than the alt in body and flavor, though with nice chocolate malty overtones, and much more dry.
some dopplebock, whose name I've forgotten, which also had a good malty flavor and richness, and was well-filled out by the higher alcohol.
Also a taste of a smoke bier, which was absolutely fantastic! It was a sweet, rich, cedary smoke which paired with and enhanced the rich dark beer flawlessly without overpowering. This was far better than the Rogue Ale House smoke beer I've had, which was a harsher smoke flavor and much more bitter, thus making the smoke appear more overpowering rather than simply enriching.
On to the food!
Reibekuchen mit hausgemachtem Apfelmus (potato pancakes with apple sauce) - the pancakes were basically potatoes cut into thin strings, smushed together, and fried to a golden brown on the outside, while remaining just cooked inside. Very hearty! The applesauce was also quite good.
Maultaschen in Pilzrahmsosse (German ravioli filled with pork & veggies, with mushroom sauce) - fantastic! Very rich and of a great, slightly gamey flavor, and the sauce is basically a very rich mushroom cream sauce. Hearty!
Hering nach Hausfrauenart mit Schmand, Zwiebeln, Gurken und Kartoffeln (pickled herring with sour cream, onions, pickles, potatoes) - the pickled herring was amazingly good. It had an almost sashimi-grade texture to it, and was very flavorful without being at all fishy. The pickles were largely made up of red cabbage and beets, and the sour cream was relatively thin with chunks of onion & potato. This was probably the only thing we ate I wouldn't describe as "hearty".
Unfortunately, we didn't share entrees, so I can only report on:
Sauerbraten mit Preiselbeerkonfituere, serviert mit Rotkohl und Spaetzle (marinated, braised beef with cranberries, red cabbage, and spaetzle) - This plate made for an intimidating image, with the left half being all red cabbage, the right half all spaetzle, divided by 3 large hunks of beef with a small pot of cranberry sauce at the top. Most definately hearty! The beef, in something of a light gravy, was rich, moist, tender, and very very good both with and without the addition of cranberry. The cabbage was, well, red cabbage. Really not too much you can do with that I think. The spaetzle (basically very simple German pasta/dumplings if you don't know) was lightly pan fried so that some of it was soft while the occasional big was lightly crispy. Good flavor, and very very filling.
Carrot cake - short, dense, and with a rather heavy butter-cream frosting, it wasn't much my thing, though it was carroty.
German chocolate cake - 3 layers of light, fluffy chocolate cake, separated by one layer of cherry sauce and one layer of light whipped cream, this was heaven on a plate. I could have eaten it all night, except that after all the previous food there was no way it would fit. Such a shame.
The beer is fantastic, the food is perfect so long as you're really hungry, or planning to climb a mountain in the near future, and the atmosphere just a bit on the rowdy side of happy. Just what you'd expect from a German food & beer hall, and always worth a trip.