Lately, I’ve been racking up some major girlfriend points. First, I took Andrew as my +1 to the Bacon and Beer Classic at Citi Field where we guzzled craft beers, ate bacon-covered everything, and took a VIP tour through the Mets clubhouse. Next, I introduced him to Peloton, his new favorite cycling studio (first class is free!). And last weekend, I brought him to brunch at Paulaner, his now go-to happy hour spot.
I’m the gal who drinks white wine at sporting events so I was unfamiliar with the Paulaner brand when I received the invite for brunch. Andrew clued me in that it is a German brewery, with brew houses all over the world, one of six that supplies beer for Oktoberfest. After checking out Paulaner’s website, I realized that I had actually been to the Munich location during my semester abroad when we somehow thought that a beer garden biking tour across the city was a good idea.
Paulaner is a little off the beaten path south on Bowery, but not prohibitively so. It’s worth it for the $6 liters during happy hour, according to Andrew. Apparently the going price for a liter at other trendy beer gardens in the city is around $20 or so. I’d rather spend that on rosé.
We entered the spacious brewery and took a few minutes to admire our surroundings. The decor was industrial and clean, with plenty of large TVs, long wooden tables, and brewing equipment. In fact, our outgoing waiter informed us that to his knowledge Paulaner is the only restaurant in Manhattan that brews its own beers on-site. We had our pick of tables since we were the only diners at the time. Paulaner opened earlier this year, but had to close shortly thereafter for renovations. Now it is back in action, but the word may not have gotten out yet.
At Paulaner, your meal must start with beers. Andrew went straight for the Munich Pale Ale in the medium .5 liter size, while I tried a beer flight. I know next to nothing about beer so the flight was a great way to sample a variety of Paulaner brews without committing to one. My flight contained Hefeweizen, the most recognized of all Paulaner beers; Munich Lager, a light and timeless beer; Munich Pale Ale, Paulaner’s IPA offering; Munich Dark, the “original” Munich beer that is only available freshly brewed; and Lemon Weizen, a seasonal, citrus beverage. I surprised myself and enjoyed the bold flavors of the Munich Dark the most out of the selection.
Starting off with the beer was a helpful way to alert my body of the carb-influx that was to come during this German feast. We didn’t realize the most delicious table bread was on the way so we started with obazda, basically a Bavarian cheese ball, and a soft pretzel. The obazda was sharp and flavorful, and the perfect consistency to spread over the pretzel. However, the pretzel was disappointedly cold and hard. The aforementioned table bread made up for the pretzel; the bread was warm and soft with a sweet crust, and served with a housemade raspberry preserve.
This sounds like an excuse, and it probably is, but we ordered a variety of dishes to share in order to fuel up for the Mister Sunday dancefloor in Industry City. Potatoes are my favorite food, followed closely by creamed spinach, so the two eggs sunny-side up entree with these all-star sides was a no brainer. The eggs were standard and I enjoyed sopping up the yolk with the spinach and potatoes in one well-rounded bite. Andrew and I both complimented the strong garlic flavor of the spinach, which was a standout.
Andrew’s one request was the pork weiner schnitzel. I wasn’t craving fried food so I snagged a few bites, but he remarked that it was an excellent sampling of schnitz with tender meat and flavorful breading. I prefered the refreshing cold potato and cucumber salad that was served alongside the weiner schnitzel.
Finally, we rounded out our entrees with the bratwurst served atop homemade sauerkraut. The brat was tasty, but nothing memorable. I did enjoy the crunchy texture that the sauerkraut brought to the dish and can always appreciate a good pickled vegetable.
Since this onslaught of heavy food was washed down by belly-bursting beer, the last thing we had on our minds was dessert. But when two sugary plates magically appeared from the kitchen, who were we to turn it down? Our server first presented his personal favorite sweet treat from the menu, the warm cherry strudel with sour cream ice cream. The sour cream ice cream put my tastebuds on a roller coaster, it was the perfect balance between savory and sweet. This dairy delight tasted similar to goat cheese ice cream, if that puts it into context for other adventurous eaters. The warm strudel melted in my mouth and I can see why it received rave reviews.
We were also treated to the sweet buns, a house specialty. Our chipper hostess came out of her way to ask us our thoughts on this dessert, which was apparently so addictive to staff members that they need to cut each other off. The sweet buns melted into one another, similar to monkey bread, and were filled with apricot jam. We were provided with vanilla sauce to drizzle, or drench in my case, over these steaming buns of perfection.
If this review was up to Andrew, he would give it an A+. He was floating on cloud nine with affordable, local drafts, meat-centric dishes, and views of ESPN from every angle. I enjoyed tasting a new cuisine and sampling a small quantity of beers, but I personally prefer bubbly and beignets over brews and brats. That being said, I’m still dreaming about those desserts.
The Bitches say: B. German brauhaus food isn’t exactly ‘Bitchy,’ but most of the dishes were tasty. If not for brunch, definitely check out Paulaner for great happy hour specials or to watch a game.
New York, NY
Paulaner serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.