March 9th, 2012

King’s Biergarten & Restaurant: Bavaria auf dem Bayou

In 6 Words: Spaetzle, Hyperbolic, Bavarian, König, Viennese, Oktoberfest

I love most things Bavarian. I love the weisswurst and the spaetzle. I love the sound of the accordion accompanied with brass in ¾ time. I love the Bavarian way of using words as blunt instruments; so much so that I even learned to communicate auf Deutsch sowohl in der Universität.

Sadly, I’ve never been to Bavaria, and the language I learned over six years of schooling has all but left me, thanks to lack of use. When the Sitter Family opened King’s Biergarten & Restaurant in July of 2011, the schnitzel was all but fried, as they say. No one says that? Anyway, I had to go.

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When it comes to Austrian and German cuisine in Houston, your options are limited. There’s Houston mainstay Rudi Lechner’s out on Gessner, the now closed Alpenhaus in Conroe, the Charivari Restaurant toward Downtown and even the former Schmatz Inc. in League City (one of the Sitter Family’s previous restaurant incarnations), but in the land of 2,000 Mexican restaurants, Deutschland is underrepresented. So, my hopes for King’s Biergarten & Restaurant are high.

Arriving on a Friday night, it’s clear that word’s gotten around fast—the place is packed like pork in casing. That’s a fair analogy, considering the cramped tables with their large portions, liter mugs of frosty Bavarian brew and a level of jovial noise that generously stuffs the ears. It all reeks of delightful indulgence. My party and I take our seats outside at a table that’s just been cleared. Live polka and cigarette smoke swirl and dance in the cool breeze as we glance at the menus.

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We’ll be starting with beer. Of course. Warsteiner, König Pilsner, Spaten, Paulaner and Franziskaner are all on tap. Do I get a liter, ½ liter or take a tour – all eight beers served in miniature mugs for $12? One liter of Spaten Optimator it is. As for the rest of my party, it’s Franziskaner’s all around. Moments later our delectable draughts hit the table with a satisfying thud.

It’s not long before we’re ready to order our food. I’ll have the two sausage and half wiener schnitzel plate with Austrian potato salad and spaetzle. Also ordered was the King’s Sampler for Two – two half portions of wiener schnitzel, the cheese sausage, the hot link, the Nuernberger bratwurst, roasted potatoes and red cabbage.

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While our food is prepped, I contemplate whether or not to include this place on The Loop Scoop. We hope to bring you, dear reader, that which makes Houston so terrific as we stumble upon it, so King’s received a resounding yes on that front. But don’t be fooled into misgivings of extreme authenticity- everything about King’s Biergarten & Restaurant is over the top—from the dirndls and lederhosen to the faux crenellations and turrets on the restaurant front. Even its tag line, “It’s Oktoberfest all year round” is likely to make the authentic Bavarian turn up their nose. And as my thoughts coalesce, my dinner arrives.

The spicy chicken bratwurst is steamy to the fork, with melted Swiss, sweet apple, zesty jalapenos, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach oozing as my knife pierces it. The Nuernberger bratwurst is delicious and juicy in spite of its lean makeup. The schnitzel’s breading is soft and buttery around the patiently tenderized pork. My Austrian potato salad and spaeztle are mild compared to the meats of the plate—but that ain’t bad. From what I gather, everyone else is just as pleased with their Austrian aliments.

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With sated appetite and liter emptied, the countdown to unfortunate departure has begun. As I said, I love Bavaria. I guess, more accurately, I love the thought of Bavaria, whether or not it’s a somewhat Americanised version that packs a slightly hyperbolic punch. Until the day I can experience the real thing, I can find just enough respite at King’s Biergarten & Restaurant to tide me over.

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Where1329 East Broadway Pearland, TX 77851
What – All things Bavarian, but with an Austrian/Eastern European twist
Wear – Traditional Bavarian garb probably wouldn’t raise any eyebrows; tanks, tees, sandals—it just doesn’t matter
How much – $9.00 for a heaping sandwich; $15.00 for a loaded dinner plate; $12.00 for liter; $6.90 for a ½ liter; Regular drafts, bottles and wine by the glass about average
When – Sunday through Wednesday: 11:00AM to 10:00PM; Thursday through Saturday: 11:00AM to 12:00AM
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— Richard

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