Lagerhaus 95: Discovering Alpine
blog by BuffaloDotCom • December 31, 2011 @ 1:02pm
With the popularity of Belgian-influenced Blue Monk on Elmwood Ave., the desirability of European-style restaurants is on the rise in Buffalo. Welcome Lagerhaus 95 (95 Perry St.) to the scene, Buffalo’s first “bier stube”—a German word that translates to “beer hall.” If your immediate reaction towards German beer is the movie Beerfest or a mental image of this guy, don’t wince yet. The atmosphere is cozy yet clean, and the food selection suggests more Alpine than strictly German.
Housed just two blocks from the First Niagara Center in the Cobblestone District, Lagerhaus 95 is already beloved by curious Sabres fans. How quickly will it reach customers beyond the arena crowd?
When asked about the attitude of Alpine culture toward food, Lagerhaus 95 General Manager Mark Slagle—who studied abroad in Switzerland—was very clear in his response: “The Alpine region cares about nice quality meat and good cheese. There’s a strong appreciation for simple yet good food.”
One of the general manager’s fondest food memories of his time abroad is one that’s shared by many travelers—the warm, fresh baguettes that are wrapped and housed outside the front of patisseries, convenient stores and even some charcuteries. These long, crusty sheaths of bread are a cultural staple—and quite delicious. Lagerhaus 95 has its own—except leaving them outside really isn’t an option, Slagle said with a chuckle.
Slagle was quick to mention that Chef Jamie Zynda’s Hindenburger has caught on rapidly—Lagerhaus 95’s Facebook page already touts this option as the “city’s best burger.” Ballsy! The description will make you drool, though, and the Hindenburger has become so popular that it’s ascended beyond the “pub fare” menu (4 p.m. to close) to being served at any time (hours listed here).
What is it? An 8 oz. angus burger is accompanied by lager-braised cippolini onions, aged Gouda and an over-easy egg, and it’s served on a pretzel roll. Visit Christa Glennie Seychew’s report for a photo of the tasty-looking burger.
As far as local ingredients go, Lagerhaus 95 stumbled upon a gem: Amherst St.‘s Spar’s European Sausage Shop, which boasts a bevy of Euro-style homemade meats and a meticulous smoking (and sometimes double-smoking) process. Even better? The website’s tag-line is “time flies when you’re eating bacon.” Word. Want to be sure you’re sampling Spar’s products? Try the “Best of the wurst.”
When Kathryn and Ben T. checked out Lagerhaus 95 for the second time last week, there was a buzzing crowd of excited Trans-Siberian Orchestra-goers dining before the show. Eager for soup, Kathryn chose the special “sweet potato bisque,” which she described as delicious because of its subtle spiced or mulled taste—she had a hunch that there was a pinch of cinnamon added.
She then opted for the “Beast & brie,” which is “haus carved top-round roast beef, triple cream brie, haus greens, fresh apple slices and horseradish on pressed focaccia. While she hoped for a stronger horseradish taste—she asked for extra, which was gladly brought over in a small dish by our server—she loved the flavor of the creamy brie and was pleasantly surprised by the apple slices.
Ben T. opted for the chicken milanese, which was “panko breaded chicken breast with fresh lemon and garlic infused olive oil, haus greens, tomato and shaved asiago on a freshly baked baguette.” None of the entries are predicated on heavy sauces, which would presumably compete too strongly with the subtle taste of the cheeses, and the flavored olive oil was both light and noticeable in flavor. The chicken remained more moist than the photo below would suggest, and the fried chips provided a nice crunch on the side. And who doesn’t like panko?
Lagerhaus also offers an array of side dishes in the case near the cashier station (immediately to the right of the bar), and these include a pesto tortellini and honey mustard-seasoned diced potatoes that serve as a nice starter for around $2.00.
A host of influences contributed to the birth of Lagerhaus 95—Slagle noted that the ownership group, which includes notable names like Sam Savarino and Ed Plata, was united by a love for food, and Slagle’s passion for beer (he’s proud that they’re serving Honeoye Falls-based Caged Alpha Monkey) and Zynda’s premier local chef experience.
While you’ll have a remarkably tough time leaving the restaurant with a bill under $15 per individual, it’s worth the visit—particularly if you’re gearing up for a Sabres game or celebrating a Friday lunch at work.