1148 West Beech St, East Atlantic Beach
Das Biergarten is true to its name. It’s as much a rough and tumble beer hall as a restaurant. German restaurants are an endangered species on Long Island, diners who lament their scarcity might well be drawn to this place of modest ambition for its traditional menu of wursts, sauerbraten, schnitzel, rouladen, potato pancakes and beef goulash soup. Nevertheless beer, not food, is king here. On the night of my visit most patrons were drinking (not eating) one or more of the six brews from Munich-based Paulaner, or other beers from Germany.
Speaking of Munich, the male dominated Das Biergarten, with its long, bare communal tables, dirndl-wearing waitress, undulating metal ceiling, crayons and coloring sheets for children and lively bar scene, is reminiscent of a miniature Munich beer hall. One of the staples of the Oktoberfest, the giant beer stein, is on virtually every table, often being consumed by boisterous young men wearing baseball caps and watching sports on one of the restaurant’s four televisions. Chef Ryan Lattman’s no surprise menu is, with few exceptions, gently priced. Entrées range from $14 to $19. Soups are $6, sides $4 and $5 and all but one appetizer from $8 to $11. We did question the $8 cost of a giant pretzel with a dab of spiced mustard and Bier cheese dip and $35 for a bottle of Riesling, a wine that often goes for $10 less.
And how German is this hangout that replaces the Blue Point Seafood Bar at this East Atlantic Beach location? Well, onion soup, that traditional French favorite, is listed as German onion soup here.
The most accurate term to describe Das Biergarten’s food is uneven. Three crisp greaseless potato pancakes with smidgens of applesauce and sour cream ($8) are first class. But so-called haus wings ($11) despite a dab of sauerbraten sauce, tasted like wings anywhere else. The two pretzel starters, the $8 version mentioned earlier and the $9 obatzda with a creamy Bavarian cheese spread, were unexciting, as was a bland side of warm German potato salad ($5) that cried out for bacon or some other infusion of pizzazz.
Two of the four entrées sampled were dull and uninspired and two provided good, simple, rustic eating. The beef in the sauerbraten ($18) and rouladen ($19) was dry and chewy. The trio of traditional wursts (bier sausage, bratwurst and weisswurst; $17) delivered tasty flavor. Also recommended is the schweinshaxe ($19), a succulent mountain of roast pork shank that’s fall-from-the-bone tender, yet still has crispy skin.
There’s only one dessert and it’s a beaut. Accurately billed as “Das Best Apfel Strudel Ever” it’s a soft, warm apple strudel ($8) of ripe fruit escorted by vanilla bean ice cream and real whipped cream.