A dive into our ancestry during Christmas vacation had us thinking about Germany and meals our grandmother used to cook. A Google search revealed a German restaurant just up the road in Hooksett. It was reviewed years ago by another Our Gourmet team, but we thought it was time for another visit.
Our Gourmet (OG), the Dining Companion (DC) and Fussbudget (FB) headed out on a recent Sunday to the Bavaria German Restaurant.
We’d driven countless times past the little Granite Hill office/strip mall, where Hooksett Road becomes four lanes, and never noticed this little gem. Even when we pulled in, we were puzzled that no cars were in the lot, until we drove around back where the entrance to Bavaria beckoned.
We were greeted at the door by Monika Berger, who owns Bavaria with husband and chef, Anton. She was wearing traditional German dirndl, and we felt like we’d been transported to Germany. Tables for two and four are tucked in nooks and crannies that open to a larger, bright dining room filled with mugs, plates and photos from the Old Country. Everything here gleamed. DC remarked it was the cleanest restaurant she’s ever seen, with nary a smudge, stray fingerprint or speck of dust anywhere.
Our server brought menus and listed the specials, which included a couple of adult beverages and appetizers and two entrees. DC was enticed by the Gluwein ($7.80), a mug of hot red wine seasoned with cinnamon and other spices, while OG opted for a half-liter of German lager ($7.90.)
German food is notably heavy and meat-centric, and there were few offerings suitable for the DC, who eschews meat. She made do, ordering a Kartoffel Salat ($4.90) as an app, while OG opted for the Weisswurste ($12.80) from the specials. DC was wowed by her choice, which was a German potato salad. The potatoes were lightly mashed to creamy, tasting of vinegar and onion, just like grandma’s. Good stuff.
OG enjoyed the white sausages, which were accompanied by a warm German pretzel, which was donated to the FB. Made of veal and flecked with parsley, our wursts had a nice snap and a lovely, mild flavor, kicked up a notch by a small cup of grainy, sweet mustard. These were delicious. And filling.
German music played softly as we awaited our entrees. We ordered off the appetizer menu for the FB, getting him two more of the warm pretzels we already knew he loved (although he wasn’t fond of any of the three accompanying mustards) ($10.50), and a bowl of the TaggeSuppe — the Soup of the Day — a thick, hearty cream of leek ($5.30).
The boy gobbled up the soothing broth, leaving a heap of withered leek at the bottom of the bowl. That’s a winner in our book. He washed it down with a steaming mug of Heisse Schokolade (Hot Chocolate) ($3.40), which tasted of good chocolate and not the instant packet variety.
The DC ordered the Rahmschwammerl ($12.80), an intimidating, very full bowl of sauteed mushrooms in a thick cream sauce with a hefty bread dumpling floating in the middle. Like the FB’s soup, the cream in her dish was soothing and mild, providing nice accompaniment to the mushrooms.
The serving and most came home with us. The DC remarked she’d probably be having some for days.
OG’s dinner, a Herrenschnitzel from the specials menu ($23.80) was tremendous. A large pork cutlet, pounded to almost paper thin, was coated with a mild mustard, seasoned flour and egg, and fried to a crunchy crisp. We had to wait for the dish to cool a bit, but were pleased with the texture and flavor.
The pork inside was tender, kept moist by the mustard, with the crisp outer coating providing a variety of texture that was not at all greasy. The schnitzel was accompanied by a mound of roasted, slightly mashed potatoes, which were both creamy and crusty and spruced up with strands of roasted onion. Similar to home fries, these were very, very good.
Though no one had finished our dinner, we forged on to dessert. OG and the DC split a traditional Apfelstrudel ($8.80) while the FB ordered the Heisse Liebe (translated, “Hot Love) ($8.20), a parfait of vanilla ice cream and hot raspberries the boy thought so good he asked if we could get some berries and ice cream when we go shopping. Our strudel was good, but not great, lacking in flavor even accompanied by whipped cream and vanilla ice cream.
While we waited for our bill, Monika Berger visited to ask if we’d enjoyed our meal.
That’s a nice touch we don’t see often enough these days. We assured her we had, and that we’d be back.
As we left, she was polishing glassware, holding each piece up to the light. That’s a restaurant that cares.