When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Brat Haüs Location: 3622 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale Open: Less than a week Eats: Brats and beer Price Point: $10 to $20
Ever since its "coming soon" announcement in January, Brat Haüs has kept our curiosity piqued, Prometheus-style, for months. The artisan sausage and craft beer concept from restaurateur Dave Andrea (formerly with Old Town Tortilla Factory, Wild Noodles, and Fat Slim's BBQ) has held several events, provided social media updates, and made mention of its notable chef, Payton Curry (Digestif, Caffe Boa), before opening on Monday, July 2, in the former Oregano's at 3622 North Scottsdale Road in Old Town Scottsdale.
Hell, even we at Chow Bella were chomping at the brat. (See also: Python Bratwurst and Beer, Plenty of Beer, at Brat Haus "Haus Party" and Payton Curry Dishes on the Maricopa County Health Department and His Vision for Brat Haus.)
The good news: Brat Haüs delivers on its end product. It's still brats and beer, but very good brats and beer -- and a great addition for Old Town.
Curry's small menu includes housemade sausages in traditional, gourmet, and exotic (think rabbit and rattlesnake) categories with a choice of homemade toppings, as well as ground-daily burgers, Belgian fries, salads, hand-twisted pretzels, and signature desserts.
And like any good beer garden worth its suds, there are more than 24 craft beers on tap, including brews from Germany and Belgium, more than 35 in bottles and cans, and a few wine and cocktail selections. For non-imbibers, there's an interesting selection of sodas like Kickapoo Joy Juice, Faygo Rock & Rye, and even Jolt Cola.
You could start with a very good jumbo-size pretzel ($3.50). Featuring locally ground Hayden Flour Mill flour, it's delicately crunchy on the outside, subtly soft on the inside, and comes with a perfect amount of salt. Make sure to order it with the whole grain mustard for an especially good bite.
For the main attraction, those wanting a more gourmet flair to their grilled sausage should order up the Duck, Duck, Dates brat ($7.25) with spicy peppers, which complement the mild and sweet lean meat. Or, for a more traditional taste, there's a juicy but not very spicy spicy brat ($5.75) with a pleasant flavor that's elevated with the addition of sweet root beer onions. Both are housed in a wonderfully soft and chewy toasted French roll that doesn't overpower the grilled sausage goodness nestled inside. Unfortunately, both were served less warm than what I would have expected.
And speaking of service, it is the one aspect of Brat Haüs I felt was a little absurd. I'm sure there are solid reasons behind having table service, but given the restaurant's small menu of short-order items, I'd rather have ordered and paid for my meal at a counter and waited (with drink in hand) in the beer garden or inside one of the two tiny "haüses" flanking the garden.
But as it is, the service is helpful and friendly. And along with a party-ready patio, solid craft beer selection, and excellent eats, it looks as if Brat Haüs has come right out of the gate as a nice addition for the Old Town crowd.
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