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Tuesday January 15, 2008

Hofbräu München

Hofbräu München

We don’t need to keep talking about the lamentable closing of Eidelweiss, now going on two years ago, but the fact is that authentic German food is hard to find in Miami. You would not expect a Lincoln Road joint to be much more then a stopgap to this problem, and in fact when it first opened Hofbräu München had a Latin section on its menu, some vestige of the Cuban restaurant that previously occupied the premises. Well, a year on, Hofbräu has established itself as a perfectly wonderful spot. It’s much more casual then Eidelweiss, and in fact is sometimes listed as Hofbräu Beerhall. A few niggles aside, is a great place for food and beer.

Ah, the beer. Three varieties of Hofbräu (plus two seasonal), all of course imported from Germany, are on tap: a lager, a wheat ale, and a dark. The lager is the default choice, as good as anything you’ll find on tap anywhere in town. I like my beer a little more bitter, but it should be just right for an American palette. The wheat beer is for the adventurous, unfiltered (cloudy) and with a distinct hint of citrus. The dark beer is rich and delicious, and unexpectedly easy to drink for anyone expecting a stout. All the beers come in half and full-liter mugs, the latter of which is recommended: if you’ve ever had two pints of beer with dinner, a liter is not much more, and it will make you stronger.1

The food so far has been exceptional. You really want to start with the Hofbräu Wurstplatte, four big grilled sausages of various styles, each more succulent then the last. It’s served with the obligatory sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. And while this is some of the least healthy food you’re likely to find on Lincoln, it’s a necessary occasional cardiovascular-health splurge for any carnivore. For an adventurous snack, split a Münchner Wurstsalat among a few friends over beer — it’s cold sausage and swiss cheese with vinegar, which, well, it’s a thing, anyway. I do have to agree with complaints about the mustard. While Hofbräu has a tasty sweet mustard that accompanies the wurst, I couldn’t really do a whole plate with it, and honest to goodness, the only other alternative is packets of Gulden’s. This actually is not a terrible alternative taste-wise, but it kills the vibe, man, and I hope it gets addressed soon. No excuse, as decent German restaurant is available at Publix, and especially so since they’re already flying in the beer…

Speaking of killing the vibe, let’s talk about the prices. Those liters of beer? $12 a pop. The Wurstplatte? $19. (And so it goes, almost all the prices having been raised from those listed at MenuPages.) Pricey, yes, but not so terrible when you consider (1) the imported goodies, in light of the weak US dollar, (2) exorbitant Lincoln Rd. rents, and (3) that it’s obviously not that easy to run a German restaurant in Miami. Be grateful, and eat your wurst. Less tangible is the relaxed atmosphere of the place, which is also sort of rare on Lincoln Rd. The booths inside have been replaced with real beer-hall style tables and benches, and the wood tables and chairs outside are comfortable and right-minded to the experience at hand, and yet none of this seems fussy or contrived. Well, ok, the waiters’ leather lederhosen pants are a little contrived, but we’ll let that slide.

Hofbräu München
943 Lincoln Rd. (between Michigan and Jefferson)
Miami Beach

[1] I predict that one-liter mugs of beer are going to be the next big thing. In Bogota there are trendy new places, sort of Starbucks-equivalent beer halls, which have been serving them, and the practice has spread to some of the other restaurants. This is a trend that is ripe for introduction to America — you heard it here first!

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Tuesday May 8, 2007

Maibaumfest German Spring Festival

German festival

Oddly enough, this was fun. Most of the music was in German, but here an MC leads, in English, the crowd in a sort of dance. German dancing accommodates being stuffed with beer and wurst by employing mostly simple lumbering and swaying motions. In one, the idea was just to sort of crouch down and stand back up every few bars.

German festival

Dudes in lederhosen perform. This was just as we walked in, so the main appeal was of culture shock. This is way deep in the SW of Miami, mind you. Never did figure out the significance of the wreath hanging from the ceiling and the crown on a pole in the previous picture.

German festival

A sampling of cakes and “Apfelstrudel” (delicious). Not pictured: wurst hotdogs, schnitzel sandwiches, and some serious beer, including light and dark Warsteiner on tap. There was also the typical arts and crafts area.

German festival

Random picture from the trophy case of the German American Club.

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Thursday January 18, 2007

The bad news: Lincoln Road Cafe, a Cuban restaurant that I always enjoyed, is closed. The good news: it’s now a German restaurant! Hofbräu München, which sounds great. This is very good, since Edelweiss is apparently permanently closed. (via Rick)

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