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Sausages proved to be the highlight of the entrées, although the menu features several dishes with meat cooked and served closer to its natural form. The Hühnershnitzel — a chicken breast pounded thin, breaded, and fried — includes a large portion of chicken that's both crispy and juicy but lacks seasoning. At $18, it's also one of the higher-priced dishes on the menu.
On a Wednesday-night visit, we were disappointed to find that the roasted pork shank special was sold out. On a future visit, we will heed the advice of both the staff and the fliers on every table to reserve one ahead of time.
The restaurant offers several other pieces of advice, like the Ten Commandments of the Beer House, posted in German adjacent to the front door. The highlight of those advises patrons "not to pee in the river on Friday, because on Sunday we use the water to make beer." An FC Bayern Munich scarf, representing the preferred soccer team of the house, hangs above a mirror-backed bar, letting you know whom to cheer for.
2861 E. Commercial Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Category: Bars and Clubs
Fritz & Franz Bierhaus, 2861 E. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale; 954-530-6147; bierhaus.cc. Open Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Sausages with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes $12
Tiroler Speck $13
Wurst Teller $17
A heaping bowl of Szegediner Gulasch comes with a generous helping of fork-tender pork shoulder in a thick, brown gravy with paprika, onions, garlic, and red wine. The stew is served atop more sauerkraut while a dollop of sour cream adds a further touch of richness. The goulash, likely due to the combination of sauerkraut, pork, and a rich sauce, was a bit salty but not so much as to render it inedible.
The Salatschüssel — a combination of German potato, cabbage, cucumber, and carrot salads — is a mandatory addition to any meal here, especially those that don't include the potato salad. Boiled potatoes are peeled and mixed with olive oil, vinegar, salt onions, and scallions to create a salad that is filling without the overwhelming richness of those built around mayonnaise. Cabbage and cucumber salads offer fresh, crisp vegetables with a vinegary punch that's a welcome counterbalance to the rich sausages and stews. On one visit, our server forgot to put our order for spätzle, a noodle salad with cheese and browned onions, but quickly realized they were missing and brought a small bowl of the light, classic side dish to our table.
Only one of two visits included a lederhosened waiter and background polka music, but service was always attentive and helpful in explaining the less common dishes. Fritz & Franz strikes a fine balance between offering visitors an "authentic" German dining experience and being a place you could, with a serious workout regime, visit regularly.
We were one of only a couple of filled tables at each visit. Yet Neuweg, who's long run the Oktoberfest in Coral Gables near the original location, said he'll be overseeing Fort Lauderdale's Oktoberfest, which will run September 28 to 30 on Las Olas Boulevard.
Fritz & Franz is the kind of place that's best for a big group of people with big appetites. There's surely no reason to wait for October to visit for a cold beer and a hot plate of brats.