Originally slated to open just in time for Oktoberfest this year, Paulaner (the 375-year-old German beer brand), couldn’t have picked a better way to make its New York restaurant debut. Unfortunately, that anticipated holiday launch wound up being delayed well into November, and then the brauhaus mysteriously shuttered again a few months later, affixing brown paper to the windows and a cryptic “Coming Soon” sign to the door.
But now, Paulaner is once again serving up sausages and giant steins of beer on the Bowery, and seemingly much better for the evident internal shakeup, that resulted in a new design (exposed brick, steel piping, hand-stained chairs, oak floors), a new chef (Daniel Kill, formerly of Café Sabarsky and Blau Gans), and a new menu, now overseen by Wolfgang Ban, half of the Austrian power duo behind Seasonal, The Third Man and Edi & The Wolf.
What that means is that Paulaner is so much more than your average Brauhaus, although rest assured, it has the prerequisite Hefeweisen and Wursts. But the beer is made on-site by Master Brewer Andreas Heidenreich, in customized copper and steel fermentation tanks, and the plump, housemade Brats and savory Lamb Sausages are served at a custom-built bar, at one of the 16-foot communal wooden tables or at circular gray leather banquettes, set against walls painted to look like a faded Bavarian flag.
And that’s just a jumping off point. Ban and Kill’s menu offers refined takes on a range of hearty, Teutonic favorites, such as Hand-cut Beef Tartar, Kasnudel (a cheese-filled pasta) with mint and brown butter, Braised Beef Cheek Roulade with glazed carrots and spaetzle, Crispy Pork Knuckle served in a cast-iron pan over potatoes, and a Bratwurst Burger with sauerkraut and spicy mustard on a pretzel bun (you’ll also find Ban’s celebrated rendition of Weiner Schnitzel). A slew of seasonal, lighter items also assures that Paulaner will remain relevant throughout the summer, including Chilled Pea Soup, open-faced Rye Bread topped with radishes and local ricotta, and Pan-Seared Trout paired with sautéed ramps, cherry tomatoes and lemon.
There may have been some bumps in the road, but something tells us that Paulaner will undoubtedly emerge as a top Oktoberfest destination next year.