Restaurant review: Wurst und Bier

  • Photos by Tim Johnson
From the July 5, 2012 edition

For a city with such a strong German history like ours, there is an alarming lack of Columbus restaurants specializing in that sausage-and-suds-loving cuisine. In the spirit of the rather locally neglected German language, then — it’s famous for hard-to-pronounce and confoundingly long compound nouns — I’m going to honor the rare Teutonic-focused Wurst und Bier by calling it a “Sortagermansuburbansportspubbeerhall.”

Open about a month and a half, Wurst und Bier (Sausage and Beer) occupies part of a low boxy building in a strip mall that from its generic exterior looks like it could house any kind of business. Inside, though, W&B manages to be something distinct in its Crosswoodsy area.

By mixing long tables, beer barrels, a fake exposed brick wall and Bavarian-clad cartoony logo mascots with a legion of huge sports-tuned TVs, giant bar and a straightforward (and un-costumed) wait staff, W&B’s vibe comes off like an unusual hybrid of touristy Oktoberfestland beer hall meets nice sports pub. If that description doesn’t chafe your lederhosen (I’d understand if it did), you can have a pretty good time here.

Certainly multitasking by enjoying an impressive ocean of beers (like hard-to-find-on-tappers such as Schneider Weisse, Gaffel Kolsch and Radeberger Pilsner) and stretching out in a spacious room while watching sports on impressive HDTVs and feasting on foods seemingly designed to accompany beer can be a powerful diversion. Oh, sure W&B’s fare is far from subtle, sublime or cheffy, but heck, it can hit the stein-lubricated spot.

The Obazda appetizer ($9) is a reasonable way to get the beer barrel rolling. It was a warm and enormous soft pretzel served on a board with excellent mustards, pickles and a buttery and oniony little cheese ball.

Naturally sausages are big here. Because my server told me the “WB line” was made in Germany specifically for this eatery (there are also domestic varieties and oddities like alligator or snake sausages), I ordered two WB line sausages on the nice-priced Sausage Plate ($11, with two sides).

Wait, did I say sausages were big here? Let me change that to RIDICULOUSLY MASSIVE. They were also grill-marked, of fine-textured good quality and, even if my mild and gently garlicky (and mortadella-y) veal and pork brats were vastly similar (though my server assured me they were different), I enjoyed them.

I was likewise pleased by a buttery, crispy and eminently tender Veal Schnitzel ($17). It also came with two of W&B’s well-executed sides like bratkartoffel (home fries with crispy bacon), a fresh and sweet cucumber salad, tart-sweet sauteed red cabbage, and a bracingly mustardy and pickly German potato salad.