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Bavarian Brathaus, Cary NC

Suzy Q Feb 27, 2009 06:25 PM

Tonight we decided to try the new Bavarian Brathaus in Cary. The resto is located in the shopping center at the corner of Tryon and Cary Parkway - I don't know the name of the strip mall, but it's the development where Mythos is located. (Slightly off topic, we hadn't been that way in a while and noticed that London Fish & Chips is now gone.)

We came into the resto and were surprised to be told that at 6 p.m. on Friday night, we'd have to wait 15 - 20 minutes because we didn't have a reservation. We took that as a good sign, assuming that they were busy, and took the host's suggestion to visit the bar area for a drink. We did, and while we enjoyed the drinks, I didn't appreciate the misdirection; we were seated in 10 minutes and walked through a half-full restaurant with plenty of empty seats to get to our table. A small snafu occurred when the host came to get us for our table; he told us that we'd have to cash out at the bar before being seated since "we don't have a computer yet." We stood there waiting to pay, and when we finally caught the attention of someone behind the bar, we told him we needed to pay since we were headed to our seats. "Who told you that you had to pay first? I'm the owner and it doesn't work that way." So, off we went to our table, drinks and bar tab in hand.

The restaurant itself is well-decorated; they've done a good job of making the place feel very homey with a lodge-type feel; there's a huge two-sided fireplace and dark wood paneling, etc. We were seated at a small table near the fireplace in a back room. We were the only patrons in the room, though the host pointed out the large table set for about a dozen places next to us and said that since it would be at least an hour before that party arrived, we'd have good service. Our server arrived shortly after the host seated us, and made some good recommendations from the menu.

We decided to have potato pancakes for an appetizer; they come in orders of 3 or 6, and we selected the smaller portion. They arrived quickly and were hot and fresh, with small cups of sour cream and applesauce on the platter. Crispy outside and soft inside, just as potato pancakes should be; nothing to write home about, but pretty good. Bread came shortly thereafter; two standard white rolls, one slightly stale-tasting brown bread roll, and some really good whipped honey butter. The bread basket was not refilled during our meal. Next came a salad of slivered tomatoes in a tangy and not unpleasantly vinegary dressing; the table bread was a good accompaniment to the strong flavor of the dressing.

The menu features several traditional German dishes, including at least eight different types of schnitzel. I decided on beef rouladen and my husband ordered the Jaegermeister schnitzel (yep, you read that right - schnitzel served with mushrooms and gravy made with Jaegermeister in the mix!). A nice surprise came when we asked for a side of German potato salad; the server offered to substitute the potato salad for the spaetzle that came with dinner, despite the menu clearly stating no substitutions.

Dinner was very good. The rouladen had a rich gravy with a strong red wine flavor (which I like), and the beef was fork-tender. The schnitzel was also very good. Dinner came with the aforementioned potato salad and a side bowl of pickled beets. The beets were much too sweet to eat on their own, but were very good when eaten with the beef. The potato salad, however, left a little to be desired in my opinion. The strongest flavor was pork; I love pig as much as the next person, but I felt a little like I was eating a warm bacon and ham salad with a few potatoes mixed in. I'm a huge potato salad fan but left most of that on the plate. I thought that the portions were okay, not outlandish, but not tiny either.

While we ate, we kept hearing the host ask our server if she could pick up "just one more table." She must've picked up four extra tables while we were eating, in addition to serving the room we were in, which included the now-full table of 12. Needless to say, service suffered greatly. We sat for at least fifteen minutes staring at dirty dinner plates and the empty bread basket before our server even came by to check on us.

We decided to get a cup of coffee and split an order of apple schnitzel for dessert, which arrived remarkably quickly. The strudel looked beautiful, with a flaky pastry, lots of cinnamon, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside. (The other desserts offered were peach strudel, Black Forest cake, and cheesecake.) Our server said that she had just put on a fresh pot of coffee and would bring our cups shortly. The strudel was slightly warm, just above room temp but not hot enough to melt the ice cream. It was nicely cooked, with the apples still a little firm and rich with plenty of spices, and not overly sweet. We finished the strudel and sat again for a few minutes before our server came back; upon seeing our empty plate, she asked if we still wanted the coffee, and at that point we said no, we'd prefer to have had it with dessert. She said she'd be back with the check, and about ten minutes later brought it to our table.

Overall, I'd give the ambiance an A, the food a B+, the service a C, and the price a D. We had one mixed drink, one beer, one app, two entrees, and one dessert, and dinner with tip was just north of $100. They hadn't deducted the coffees that we'd never received from our bill, but rather than sit another 20 minutes waiting on a new bill, we didn't say anything about it.

I'd consider going back, but at those prices, it won't be a regular stop. I meant to see if I could find a lunch menu, but forgot to do so on my way out; if the prices are lower then (which I assume they would be), that might be a better time to visit.

  1. m
    Marecha Dec 16, 2009 06:59 PM

    We sat down in the bar of the Bavarian Brathaus this evening for a beer and maybe a sausage from the bar menu. However, after sitting at a table in the bar for about 15 minutes with no service, we decided to leave. I had been to this restaurant before and the food is pretty good with the exception of the mashed potatoes, which I suspect are canned or powdered. Definitely overpriced, but the beer and bar menu isn't too bad. Won't be returning after tonight's experience.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Marecha
      grubhub Dec 30, 2009 06:09 PM

      Having to wait for a table in a half-empty restaurant is a sure sign of trouble...my wife and I usually bail if that's going on. I ran restaurants for 15 years, so don't give me the "unpredictable business" line - especially on a Friday or Saturday night. If you must, close off one section of the dining room...instead of having servers trying to cover too many tables all over the joint.
      By my count, BBH is the 4th or 5th concept to inhabit this building. I hope they make it....the food sounds great.

      Judging by what I've read here, I'm not too optimistic...

      1. re: grubhub
        t
        thegourmez Jan 18, 2010 06:50 PM

        Service is pretty crappy -- went with a party of 12 and while I know parties can be a pain (former server), the place was practically empty except for us. It took FOREVER for anything and everything. I had to chase down the waiter at the end, because some of us wanted dessert and he never offered. He also ran the wrong card on two of the checks. We did not wait around to try and get that corrected, just exchanged money between our groups.

        That said,the food is quite good. When I review it last spring, I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because everyone enjoyed the good so much, but it was closer to a 3.5 then. After that last party? 2-3 maybe. I don't usually care much about service, but this was just ridiculous.

    2. g
      Gatorbabe May 17, 2009 04:14 PM

      My husband and I went to the Bavarian Brathaus last night. We really liked our waitress. She was very sweet and attentive, but didn't seem to know the ingredients in the menu items very well at all. I do not eat beef, so I ordered the Drunk Bavarian Chicken. A chicken dish, obviously. The sauce on the chicken was a "whiskey mushroom sauce". No mention of beef and no reason to believe beef would be on my plate. The dish arrived. It looked very good and I couldn't wait to try it. After a bite or two, I became suspicious of the sauce. I asked. The waitress had to go ask the cooks. Beef based! So disappointing. I told her why I ordered a chicken dish, etc. Then there was a short discussion about why I don't eat beef (not that it was really any of her business) and for how long that's been the case (ditto). She told me that it would be quite impossible for them to list all the ingredients of all the dishes on the menu. That's fair, but they listed the different types of meat in the menu items all over the menu. Very confusing. So, she brings me a box and offers to get me something else. My husband and I have spent some time in Germany and KNEW we'd be paying for this chicken along with whatever else I ordered. So...my dinner was $22.95 for the original meal + $9 for the two brats I got that I could actually eat. Now, my husband will certainly eat the food we took home (we were planning to eat our dinner then go downtown...due to the takeout box, we had to go home first which was about 15 miles out of the way), but we saw no manager and there was no offer to take this off the bill...
      My husband LOVED his rouladen. The spaetzle was a little different than what we were used to, but I liked it a lot. If you like tomatoes, the little vienna salad that comes at the beginning is very good. We ended with an apple strudel. It was also very nice. We were certainly disappointed by the chicken dish and seriously inconvenienced (the babysitter tab was running at $10/hr) with having to go home or throw away the $23 meal. That said, we will be back. I'd like to try the potato pancakes and I might ask for the drunk bavarian chicken with a white wine (non-beef) based sauce. Or, I'll stick with the bratwursts...
      Oh, and we had reservations for a Saturday night at 6:30p. I was surprised--and the waitress seconded that thought--that there were so few people in the restaurant at that time. There were plenty of open tables. At its busiest, I'd say about half the restaurant was occupied inside.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Gatorbabe
        Naco May 17, 2009 06:12 PM

        It's your responsibility to mention the fact that you don't want beef upfront. You can't assume that beef hasn't been used just because it isn't explicitly mentioned on the menu.

        1. re: Naco
          v
          veganhater May 17, 2009 08:37 PM

          Amen. Especially in the case of broth or demi. If you've got something you can't eat, mention it when you order. some dishes have more components than can be listed in a menu discription.

        2. re: Gatorbabe
          Suzy Q May 17, 2009 08:51 PM

          My issue would be more why the waitress engaged you in a discussion as to why you didn't eat beef and how long that's been the case. I mean really...what business was it of hers? If you got a dish and didn't care for it, the appropriate response would have been, "Oh I'm sorry, may I bring you something else?" rather than telling you it would be impossible to list all of the ingredients.

          1. re: Gatorbabe
            p
            PaulNH May 25, 2009 09:16 AM

            Hi Blewgo
            There is no beef used in the gravy on my Drunkin Bavarian Chicken. The brown gravy is not made using any beef products at all. I do this on purpose because I also make dishes for vegetarians and this is the same sauce used for them.
            Sorry for any confusion.
            Paul

            1. re: PaulNH
              b
              blewgo May 25, 2009 02:53 PM

              Hi Paul,
              For some reason the author of messages is at the bottom of each message instead of the top. I think you are referring to gatorbabe.

          2. b
            blewgo Mar 18, 2009 09:54 AM

            Here's the web page for the Sanford location. The menu and prices seem to be the same as when it was located in Carthage and they seem to match what is being discussed for the Cary location. Be sure to look at the different pages shown in the frame on the left. A lot of items seem to fall under the $20 "dinner" blanket, but there seem to be plenty of options that are cheaper. To me the food seems like what you would get in a beer garden, not a fancy restaurant.

            http://bavarianbrathaus.info/

            1. Suzy Q Mar 18, 2009 09:25 AM

              I agree with you except for "attentive wait staff" and "short wait for the food." While I do hope that they've worked out some kinks since we were there, we probably won't be back anytime soon.

              1. j
                JayBar Mar 6, 2009 09:28 AM

                My wife and I have been to this place twice and are going again tonight for our third time. Point blank, the service is terrible. We arrived at 8:00pm on a Friday night for our first visit and were told there was a 30 minute wait. For a place that's been open only 3 weeks we thought? Oh, ok, it must be a hit! After waiting about 42 minutes at the bar (I'm starting to see a pattern here with the reviews), we were escorted to our table through a dinning room filled with many empty tables. I'm sorry, I don't want to hear the "proper staff" excuse. It's Friday night. Have enough staff on hand to handle filling up the place. Friday night is one of the 2 most busiest nights in a restaurant and you should be prepared. That is in no way an applicable argument for a Friday night.

                After sitting at the bar for at least 8 minutes, finally the owner of the place took our drink order between brow-beating an employee to "get it together" as this older gentleman was trying to get all of his checks straightened out. Note to owner: If you have an employee who is not performing at their best on a particular night, pull him aside and explain it to him in private. Not at the bar, infront of everyone sitting there. Very unprofessional and a big turn-off.

                We were allowed to take our bar tab to our table where service again was excruciatingly slow. We began to make sure we loaded up the waitress with as many requests as we thought when we did see her as may not see her again for another 20 minutes. After the meal when she finally came by and I was able to ask for the check, I gave her my credit card at the same time as I didn't want her to simply drop the check off and leave again for another 20 minutes. When she did return with the check for me to sign, she left it without a pen, of course. So, I sat there for another 5 or 6 minutes before finally getting up and going to the bar myself to get a pen.

                The food, on the other hand, is excellent. I love Bavarian and German food and I love the food here. It is the only reason we go back. The schnitzel is excellent, the brats are excellent, you name it, it's was good to me. Though the service in our two visits has been very poor, the food is very good. The 8 German beers on tap helps!

                Bottom line, the food is great. Authentic and huge portions. 2 brats is enough to fill a large male adult. The service on the other hand sincerely leaves something to be desired. I do hope they turn the service around as it really is a great place. I receommed going, but make a reservation so you are seated promptly and go into it knowing that your server may be slow. If you love German food as much as I it is worth it at the end of the night. Get the 4 brat platter and take 2 of them home They are even better the next day!

                2 Replies
                1. re: JayBar
                  w
                  wahpahh Mar 7, 2009 09:10 AM

                  $22.95 for entrees??? I was initially intrigued, but not anymore.

                  1. re: wahpahh
                    Suzy Q Mar 7, 2009 08:00 PM

                    The servings are large enough that with an app, I believe a couple could pretty easily split an entree. I haven't tried it, though, so I don't know if the resto is amenable to it or not.

                2. romansperson Mar 1, 2009 10:58 AM

                  Thanks for the report. My husband was interested in going to this restaurant (his mom is German and he misses some of the traditional dishes she makes), but for those prices I'm not sure we'll go. German food shouldn't be that expensive. We spent less at J. Betski's!

                  1. k
                    Kate_B Feb 28, 2009 12:34 PM

                    We ate there recently and I was disappointed. Every entree is $22.95, and the menu clearly states "no substitutions." I prefer restaurants to be a little more accommodating to my preferences. The service wasn't very good, and the food was nothing special. I also like to have a salad with my meal, but didn't want to pay an additional $5.

                    1. b
                      bluejworld Feb 28, 2009 08:48 AM

                      Good job with your detailed review of this restaurant.
                      As a long time employee in the restaurant industry, I would like to make some comments about service.
                      It is difficult to predict how busy a restaurant will be on any given night.
                      Restaurants try to staff according to their predictions (ie reservations).
                      Some walk-ins are expected each evening, however reservations are given a priority.
                      If a restaurant has empty tables, there probably isn't a server available to serve these tables. If they had seated you right away, you would have been the one complaining that you had to wait for service (as evident when you complained that your service went down when the host asked your server to pick up more tables).
                      I have no affiliation with this restaurant, nor have I even been there,
                      and this is not an attack on you, as I enjoy reading your posts,
                      but I just want to make many people understand a little more about how restaurants work.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bluejworld
                        Suzy Q Feb 28, 2009 12:31 PM

                        Thanks bluej. I wondered about them being understaffed, but when we were seated, the host said that we were that server's only table - hence his comment about our getting good service. I thought that was a little weird, although I guess they were planning for her to have the 12 top too.

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