After Mike and I ran the essential2life 5K in Liberty State Park last Saturday I suggested we have lunch at a sort of throwback restaurant that I read about in The Star-Ledger, our local daily newspaper — Pilsener Haus & Biergarten. We were in Jersey City, only a short ride to Hoboken, where the biergarten is located. Mike gave me a squinty-eyed stare. . .I was suggesting he go somewhere new. Unknown. To eat. I stared him down and off we went.
If you go looking for the Pilsener Haus know this: It’s located in a nondescript old building far from the main action of Hoboken. It’s past Columbus Park. Past the high school softball field. It’s located near where the busses sleep. Once we parked the car and found the entrance Mike relaxed. In fact, when we walked through the outdoor dining area, Mike cracked a smile.
By the time we chose a picnic table near a sunny window in one of the huge rooms in the restaurant and he glanced at the bier menu, Mike was absolutely grinning. Yep. My husband loves bier, uh beer. And he loves sausage and kielbasa. I was home free!
Pilsener Haus is cool. And it’s laid back in the way it operates. A waitress takes your drink and food orders from the printed menus, or you can walk up to the open grill and order what I call German fast food: homemade hot dogs, brats, wursts and even a Polish kielbasa, to name a few choices!
The restaurant’s imported-from-Germany hot pretzel, which is off the menu, was really tasty; and the farmer’s cheese and house-made mustard that comes with it? Spicy good stuff! We managed to save about an 8″ piece to take home to our pretzel-loving daughter Tory; we knew she’d appreciate a sample.
We sipped for a while — Mike on his fruity Oktoberfest and me on my Framboise Lambic, then we ambled up to the grill to sample some of the, uh, tubular offerings. Mike chose a Polish kielbasa and I ordered a bratwurst, both came with sauerkraut. Now I love sauerkraut, especially when it’s well browned. This kraut was different than my norm: pale, creamy, with a soft cabbage flavor. Mike watched me as I savored the first few bites, then he offered me his! Generous man? No. Mike hates the sight, smell and taste of kraut with a passion; he just wanted it off his plate! We shared our tubular meats and decided we loved the wurst and liked the kielbasa. Good choices. Next trip we’ll try something different, likely off the brunch or dinner menu!
Have you eaten at Pilsener Haus? Or another biergarten? We saw a sign for another biergarten in Jersey City just as we were making the left off the N.J. Turnpike extension into Hoboken. Is this a new/old trend?