[RESTAURANT REVIEW] Biergarten: a Lively Cross-Cultural Hangout
Larchmont Boulevard has plenty of charming restaurants, but it’s low on regular old bars. Those looking for a place to watch the game or sample some craft beers will need to go farther afield. How about a trip to Germany, by way of Korea, that’s just a mile away from Larchmont Village?
Located in a large Koreatown stripmall on Western Ave., the seven-year old Biergarten doesn’t have much going in the way of decor—think woodsy paneling, long tables, lots of beer signs, and plenty of TVs.
But with a menu full of Teutonic-meets-Asian mashups and a fine selection of craft beers, it’s a handy spot for birthdays, friend meetups or indulgent happy hours.
Whether you’re into peanut butter porter, amber cream ale or tangerine IPA, there’s sure to be something to your taste on draft. A full bar includes classic cocktails or variations like a Japanese whiskey soda or custom boilermakers—a shot and a beer—with combos like bourbon and Pabst Blue Ribbon or tequila and sour Gose beer.
Now you’ll need some starters. Poutine is a French-Canadian dish, and though Biergarten’s lacks the traditional cheese curds, the French fry and gravy creation makes up for it by adding Korean galbi marinated beef. Edamame with garlic sauce are about the only remotely healthy thing on the menu, and one diner who was previous soybean-averse said the savory sauce made him change his mind.
Are tater tots the new nachos? It’s entirely possible, and Biergarten’s totchos make a good case for loading up tots with chili, cheese and jalapenos, especially when the beer is flowing.
Main courses are also on the hearty side, such as the signature Chosun burger that was seen on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” It combines a cheeseburger with Spam, kimchi, and assorted condiments for a salty yet distinctive experience. The schnitzel katsu burger is more balanced—it’s not actually a burger, but a piece of breaded pork tenderloin topped with coleslaw. KFC is Korean fried chicken, which takes on a fine crispy crackle, though it’s not quite as flavorful as fried chicken specialists like KyoChon. It comes with zippy pickled daikon.
Things get even more German farther down the menu, with pig knuckle, a wurst plate, and sauerkraut and sausage fried rice. A more traditional Korean dish, kimchi fried rice could use a bit more tangy kimchi flavor. A Korean dish called military soup originated during the Korean war, made at bases that cooked with American canned meat like Spam.
The food at Biergarten might not knock you off your feet, but it will certainly fill you up with combinations you might never have imagined. And sometimes loaded tots, a tangerine IPA, and the week’s big game are all that’s really needed.
Biergarten, 206 N. Western Ave.