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HOFBRAUHAUS

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Just Off The Strip

4510 Paradise Road

Las Vegas, NV 89169

702-853-BEER

website

$15-$30

Sun-Thu 11am-11pm

Fri-Sat 11am-12am

German

B+

AT A GLANCE

What is it?

Copies are not always pale imitations of the original - this one is a faithful replica of a 400-plus-year old German institution.

Where is it?

Across the street from Hard Rock Hotel, just east of The Strip.

What kind of food is served?

All things Bavarian, with sausages and beer as staples.

What is the atmosphere like?

A big open beer hall of a space adds authenticity and noise.

How is the service?

Good.

What are the prices like?

Not as bad as most "theme" restaurants.

What else do I need to know?

They fly the beer in from Bavaria. Seriously.

What's the bottom line?

A great place for some German goodies. Lederhosen not required.

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FULL REVIEW

Oomp pah pah! Oomp pah pah! Oomp pah pah! Oomp pah pah!

There. I've gotten you in the mood for the review of Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas, the festive restaurant across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel that rocks in a more Germanic fashion.

The original Hofbrauhaus was commissioned in 1589 in Munich by Wilhem V, the Duke of Bavaria, apparently because he really liked beer. The building was moved in 1607 but has been there ever since, making a world-famous brew for four centuries. Unlike successful stuff in America, there aren't a slew of cheap knockoffs franchised across Germany. There's just one original Hofbrauhaus and two copies here in America, including this one in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Hofbrauhaus is an exact replica of the original down to the bar, the music, the food, and even the roof tiles. A special licensing deal with the state of Bavaria has allowed the name and beer to be imported from Germany direct to this location.

The main room is a big barn of a space with a small stage in the corner and long wooden benches and tables set up in classic beer garden style. A second room emulates the outdoor courtyard only inside with air conditioning probably because it rarely gets to be 120 degrees in Munich.

The menu is a delight for anyone with a taste for food with lots of consonants in their names like schnitzel, bratwurst, zwiebelrostbraten, and brotzeitteler.

Starters include creamy Bavarian potato soup with fresh vegetables and sliced sausage; German pancake soup, and of course their world renown gigantic fresh pretzels with mustard. I don't like pretzels OR mustard and I enjoyed this so that's really saying something.

You could try to go healthy and light with a selection of salads, vegetarian dishes, or fish, but come on! You came here for the sausages and fried stuff!

The Hofbrauhaus wurstplatte is a sausage lovers dream come true. The Vienna frankfurters were fine but knock those things out of the way for the pork and chicken sausages, tender and juicy, laying on a bed of sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. It was exactly what you want a big carb-fest to be.

Come hungry. The wiener schnitzel, a breaded pork cutlet served with cranberries and potato salad, was so huge it literally hung off the plate. The Hungarian stew was served in a bowl big enough for two and had enough tangy zing to it that you may need to fight to keep it all to yourself.

Oh, and even those supposedly "light" dishes come in portions big enough to make up for the fact you aren't eating sausage. The allgauer kasespatzle (say that three times fast) was a delicate German noodle dish with Swiss Cheese and crisp onions heaped so high on the plate that if you're looking in the vegetarian section for health reasons other than ethical ones you're going to be disappointed.

Other entrees include schweinebraten, a Munich pork roast with potato and bread dumplings; zwiebelrostbraten, a twelve-ounce strip loin steak done Bavarian style with crisp onions and red wine sauce; grillhendl, a roasted half-chicken stuffed with parsley, beer butter, and onions; and the traditional sauerbraten, a marinated pot roast cooked with wine, vegetables, potato dumplings, and red cabbage.

A couple of burgers and sandwiches, a huge array of side dishes, a small children's menu, and desserts round out the menu.

Desserts here! If you're like me you just skipped right to this paragraph so I thought it would make it easy to find. The apple strudel (sorry, apfelstrudel) was a flaky, delicious delight served with tons of hot fruit blending perfectly with the cool vanilla sauce. And do I really need to say anything other than Bavarian cheese cake with raspberry sauce? I didn't think so.

Of course you can't forget about the beer. In 1614, a particular brew at the Munich Hofbrauhaus was said to be so strong and dynamic that it stopped the Swedes from their course of plundering and pillaging the city in exchange for 344 buckets of the stuff. I want to make a political joke here about current world events but I'm sure it'll just get me into trouble so let's move on.

There are three varieties all shipped from the Munich Hofbrauhaus to here. The Original draught is a traditional light (in color) beer with a full-bodied taste and just a little bit of a bite to it. The wheat beer (kindl weissbier) was a bit more dry - if it's appropriate to use a wine term for beer. By that I mean it had a flatter, smoother taste and texture that wasn't exactly to my liking but fans of the genre should do well here. Same goes for the Dunkel, or dark beer, which wasn't in my party's interest zone so I can't speak with authority on the topic, although I'm sure anything that's survived for 400 years has to be pretty darn good.

Live entertainment (Oomp pah pah!) jazzes up the joint in the evenings and on weekends, encouraging the lifting of beer steins and swaying throughout the room. I'm equally uneducated about German beer garden music so for all I know the band could've been playing the same two songs over and over but they were good and set the appropriate mood. Note the music and the communal tables all set in a giant dome of a space don't really encourage intimate conversation. "Not a place to take a first date," one of my dinner companions remarked.

True, but this would be a great place to take a bachelor/bachelorette party or a family reunion or a boisterous work group cutting loose after a full day of convention duties.

Prices are moderate - certainly cheaper than you'll be paying at a restaurant on The Strip. Figure lunch in the $20-25 per person range all in and dinner a few bucks more. Or a lot more if you can't stop drinking the beer.

Service was good throughout the evening and there are even a few actual Germans on the staff adding authenticity to the proceedings.

The only German I remember from my three years of taking the language in high school is this: Die fernsehapparat ist kaput. It means the television set is broken. I don't know why things like that stick with me.

So I'll just have to say what I want to say in simple English. With good beer, good food, and a lively atmosphere, The Hofbrauhaus is a lot of fun.

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