Wurst und Bier
Posted by cmh gourmand on September 5, 2012
I feared the worst.
I first became aware of Wurst & Bier on Columbus Underground. The first post seemed a bit suspect. A second post seemed more authentic and honest. Note to Restaurant and Social Media consultants (like myself) using Columbus Underground – study these two posts and do a compare and contrast in reaction.
The second point of hesitation was the location which is the Crosswoods office complex at SR 23 and I-270. This is probably the most poorly managed strip mall in the Central Ohio region. In a previous post I described the area as densely packed with apartments, office buildings, condominiums and not so long ago, six steakhouses in a quarter-mile area. Somehow this retail center has become beaten down with numerous failed restaurants, unpatched potholes and thousands of cars driving by in search of an Applebee’s. Nothing has changed, if anything the area continues a death spiral – even Panera left.
I used to work in the area, so when I drive by the old wage slave factory, a dysfunctional hate rises up in me as I shake my fist at my former employer and say “Suck It ____”. So for my own emotional well-being I stay away from this suburban hell.
OK, catharsis aside, there were more misgivings. The WB logo is horrible and cheesy. If I was to classify the artwork the first thoughts that come to mind are honky gnome meets smurf. My initial thought was that this place was a “Schmidt’s Light”. I decided to defer inspection.
However, this is a Biergarten baby! Having spent time in Germany, and specifically the Hofbraeuhaus, I think that Columbus could stand with a good Biergarten. The beer list looked inviting with plenty of German brews on tap. Since the place remained open after a few months of operation, I decided an exploratory mission was in order.
I arranged the services of the Dining Duder as a co-pilot and we made our pilgrimage for pilsner. The moment we walked into the former BW-3 location, memories of the dreaded sports bar of days gone by filled my mind. Comparing the immediate vibe of the former tenant to the atmosphere of the new upstart Wurst & Bier my diagnosis was “This does not suck”. One fear was that the place would be staffed with unauthentically garbed Bavarian-wannbe servers in the theme of Whore & Wurst (this place is a sports bar so it was a possibility). It was not themed in schtick – the black-shirted servers treat this as a bar that serves wurst so they don’t try to act like experts on the cuisine or culture. Our server was proud that she could correctly pronounce one of the items on the menu (one more than me) and for that I would say she earned the Prost on the back of her shirt. I also need to mention that on an off-peak Wednesday night, the restaurant has an 80-odd-year-old accordion player on site blazing away on his instrument. This mild-mannered, energizer bunny style octogenarian Bavarian deserves excessive tips due to his dedication.
The Dining Duder and I promptly zeroed in on the bier part of the evening. Although there were many beers we wanted to try we opted for the novelty of the Gaffel Koelsch wheel of 11 (a wheel of 11 .2 liter glasses of beer). Since these cute little bier tasting glasses are on a moving wheel and the alcohol content seems to sneak up on consumers, the casualty rate for the glasses has been higher than the normal collateral damage of the bar trade. Since the bar could only offer ten glasses for the wheel – we were given two similar glasses to make up for our impaired authentic experience and give us an even dozen. To that I say Prost!
Time to dine. The menu is not overwhelming in size but there are some difficult decisions to be made. My suggestion for your first visit is to go with a group of five or more people so you can fully investigate the selections. German food was made for one purpose…to facilitate the consumption of beer. It is starchy, maintains a non diverse rainbow of white, brown and dark yellow and is true meat und potatoes fare. Granted, there is an occasional earth toned pickle mixed into a dish but vegetables are for the French and girly men.
We started with the Obazda: the traditional Bavarian bar food of Brie mixed with cream cheese, butter, onions and some mystery seasonings served with a large, freshly baked pretzel paired with Bavarian mustard. On a score of 10 – we would place Obazda at 9.7 on the bar food scale. It was the perfect pairing for beer drinking.
Moving right along…time for the wurst. The Dining Duder ordered Currywurst (the popular street food of Germany). Excuse me please, Vas ist Currywurst you ask? You choose one from a wide selection of sausages und wursts which the kitchen slices up and covers it with a magical sauce and curry powder. Simple, flavorful and a little spicy. This is like eating a sponge to soak up alcohol but more tasty.
I opted to go traditional in honor of my own German heritage with a choice of two wursts (one traditional, one spicy), mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. This met my expectations and was on par with my meals in Munich and Frankfurt long ago.
I also decided to draft the Dining Duder into some critical research. There are two potato salads on the menu. I was determined to try both. Munich Style Potato Salad is a mix of vinegar, oil, onions, pickles and mustard. Berlin Style is mustard, potatoes and pickles. Berlin won. Both salads looks similar, used the same potatoes and pickles but the simplicity of the Berlin style won me over. This reminded me of the potato salad of my youth made by my grandmother.
As we finished our meal we noticed that the table across from us had just ordered a beer tower (looks a lot like a giant beer bong) but we decided to save that for our next visit and a different beer. Our server checked in to see if we were interested in dessert. When the Duder and I declined, all three of us snorted, since our served pointed out that she was proud of us for not eating until we barfed….and we had thought that might happen at one point. Good sense reigned for the evening. We expected the worst and got better than we expected. We will be back.
Don’t fear the wurst. CMH Gourmand tested, Dining Duder approved.
A final note. When it comes down to it 21% of the Barvarian food experience is about mustard, Wurst und Bier serves several, authentic, real deal, German mustards. That my friends is significant and makes up for any misgivings I had before I walked through the door. In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “A’ll bee Baacck.”
W&B aka Wurst Und Bier
110 Hutchinson Ave
Columbus (Suburban Hell)