Oktoberfest’s Biergarten goes back to delicious roots

Biergarten is known for its fabulous German-Korean fusion dishes, but this weekend, it’s staying true to German roots in honor of Oktoberfest.

The weekend-only menu, created and executed by pop-up chef Gary Robins (former chef of the now shuttered MoKo), is one of the few around town specially dedicated to the Oktoberfest celebration of German beer and food.

German cuisine might be known as rich and simple, but under the deft, thoughtful hands of Robins, every dish is structured to pair perfectly with the distinct texture and styles of German beers.

Take the humble potato pancake (or Kartoffelpuffer), for example. Robins’ version comes in a flattened two-toned golden cake — crisp and crunchy on the outside, warm and creamy on the inside. The cake is topped with homemade applesauce and luscious sour cream. For an extra $5, you can also get sashimi-like slices of Williamsbire cured Atlantic salmon.

Kartoffelpuffer at Biergarten | Photo courtesy of Sophia Lee

Or if you’re feeling a tad more extravagant, how about the truffle-scented golden-brown Rosti with air-dried ham, ginger crisp apples and bittersweet chicories?

Another outstanding option is the schnitzel burger: perfectly brown ground veal patty, topped with sweet and sour red onion marmalade, spicy arugula, tangy remoulade and cave-aged gruyere. It’s as multi-decked and multi-flavored as you can get in between a bun.

Of course, it’s not Oktoberfest without some sausages. Get both wursts — the weisswurst, a fat, tight link of “white” meats seasoned with light Riesling and green chilies, or the venison wurst, a darker, smokier sausage stuffed with a sweet and gamey mix of ground venison, dried sour cherries, sage and lambic (a fruity German beer).

Biergarten | Photo courtesy of Sophia Lee

They’re even more complex and lovely when you sip together German beer with each bite; a light hoppy ale smoothes out the richness of weisswurst, and a raspberry lambic really accentuates the sweet gameness of the venison wurst.

All sausages are ground and stuffed in-house, and so are the krauts and mustards that comes with them. The kraut either comes in lighter, sour Sauerkraut (slow-cooked cabbage with onions, Riesling and bacon) or the sweeter, crimson Rotkraut (red cabbage, braised nice and slow with apples, onions, smoked bacon and juniper berries). They are so good that you’ll want to ask for a vat of each.

Perhaps one of the reason all of the dishes taste so wonderful with beer is because many of the ingredients are cooked with some kind of beer or wine.

All choices on the beer menu are open, but don’t forget to ask for the seasonal Oktoberfest beer, a malty, amber-colored beverage that brings out an intense caramelized flavor when paired with meats.

Biergarten | Photo courtesy of Sophia Lee

Getting hungry? Clear up your weekend. Today is the last time the Oktoberfest menu is ever going to be served.

At Biergarten’s Oktoberfest, Oktoberfest is no longer just an excuse to chug down plenty of beer — it’s a revelation to how multilayered German food and drink can be.