Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Restaurant Review: Steins Beer Garden

Steins Beer Garden - dinner on December 3, 2013
I don't drink so it might seem odd that I'd go to a restaurant called a beer garden but I was meeting my friends Todd and Jenny for dinner and that was one of the choices Todd suggested. I had never been there before but I looked up the menu, saw "burger" as one of the choices and wanted to try it.  This would be Chocolate Chip Cookie Todd for anyone keeping track of the friends I bake for, not to be confused with Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Rick or one I haven't talked much about, Lemon Bar Bryan. I don't actually call my friends by these names, at least not to their faces, just for my blog so you know who I'm talking about and what I'm baking when I meet them.
Inside Steins
Anyway, Steins Beer Garden. It's one of many restaurants around Castro St in Mountain View, also home to Xanh, one of my go-to places for good food.  Steins is rather large with both indoor and outdoor seating. It was a cold night when we went so we opted for indoor seating. The restaurant offers pretty straightforward food: mostly burgers, sandwiches, salads and a few meat, chicken and fish entrees. I opted for the burger with my usual stripped-down modifications: hold the aioli, tomato and onions.  The lettuce is fine.  Add the cheese. It was served on a brioche bun and was delicious.  A bit juicy/greasy but honestly, that's what makes a burger good, right?  As for the brioche bun that the burger came on, well, while my brain knows it adds that many more calories, my taste buds don't care. It might actually even be a better burger than the one I've had at Birk's. Birk's burger is good too but different.  Steins' burger wasn't as "spread out" as Birk's and was more compact but thicker. Todd and Jenny also approved of their orders, the salad and the Herb Marinated Grilled Flank Steak sandwich respectively.
My burger (and yes, I took the pickles off)
Todd's salad
Jenny's flank steak sandwich
And of course we ordered dessert.  Their dessert menu isn't posted online so I suspect they change it up to reflect the seasons.  Jenny ordered the pumpkin cheesecake and I got the fried apple pies with vanilla ice cream (remember fall is the best time to order anything with apples since they're in season then). I forgot the official name of the cake Todd ordered (I really must remember to write these things down at the time if I want to blog about it later) but it was a multi-layer vanilla cake filled with hazelnut filling, covered with chocolate frosting and garnished with hazelnuts. I think it had Prince or Regent in the title. That was good too when I tried a bite but I stayed loyal to my fried apple pies.  If you're ever nostalgic about those flaky apple pies from McDonalds, this is the upscale version of them.  Served warm and dusted with cinnamon sugar, paired with vanilla ice cream....yum. There were only two little pies but since the burger was pretty filling, I can't complain about the serving size since it was just right.
Fried Apple Pies a la mode
Multi-layer Hazelnut Cake
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Even beyond the food, this is a perfect happy hour place. Aside from the fact that they have a plethora of beer selections (none of which I looked at since I don't drink), it's got a very open floor plan and gives off a cozy vibe.  Todd is the king of happy hours and I instantly thought it was his kind of place. He agreed.
Todd's beer

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