Restaurant review: New Bohemia

For better or wurst — Northeast’s new sausage savvy eatery has options galore.

Upon entry of New Bohemia in Minneapolis, there

Bridget Bennett

Upon entry of New Bohemia in Minneapolis, there

by Lucy Nieboer

The only thing missing at New Bohemia  in Northeast Minneapolis is the buff and mustachioed men donning lederhosen and clinking steins.

With dim hanging lights, a sleek bar, several huge flat screens and only two long wooden tables, the dining room mimics the interior of a festival tent, creating a casual, modern and easy-going atmosphere. The restaurant, which opened Oct. 16, sends the eater on a round trip to Deutschland.

Within moments of entering the nondescript brick building at the intersection of University and Hennepin that was last occupied by a Panera Bread , black T-shirt-clad staff chortle salutations cordially. If any questions arise about the broad menu choices, the staff can quickly put your hungry mind at ease. Ordering takes place at the counter, to the side of which stands a full-length display cooler showcasing several of the sausage selections and behind which gleams a multitude of decorative tap handles just begging to be pulled.

You may want to fully consider your options before stepping up to place an order. The choices here, all imported from family-run, small-scale butcher shops, cover a larger range than the average sausage stop. Each dog gets one complementary topping, which could be anything from honey-caramelized onions to spicy red sauerkraut.

Sausages are placed in three categories: Klassiker (classic), Prymie (premium) and Abenteuer (adventurous). A simple bratwurst or generically bland veggie-dog goes for $5.75, but the crazier alligator bayou sausage will set you back $7.50.

From the classic selections, the smoked jalapeno and cheese wurst are not to be missed. The hot bite of peppers is smoothed over by melted, gooey bits of cheddar cheese and salty pork. For the wilder at heart there’s the chicken habanero. It’s not extremely spicy but packs an intense chili flavor. From the Abenteuer selections, the rattlesnake rabbit jalapeno won’t disappoint. Gamey rabbit and smooth rattlesnake meat make for a smooth, heavily spiced link.

The doughy buttered buns served with the sausages are satisfactory but quickly become soggy. A crunchier exterior that could hold up against the storm of juicy toppings would be better suited than the soft rolls.

The new takes on European classics continued with the salty, crunchy fries. Done to a crisp perfection, these freedom frites stand up where others wilt. Plain ketchup and three varieties of mustard are waiting at every table, but one of the menu’s bolder sauces and dressings comes with every order.

Those craving a more traditional taste will also find some old standbys at New Bohemia. Kartoffelsalat — potato salad — is a warm mix of red skinned potatoes and bacon with a sweet vinegar dressing. Although the potatoes were overcooked and bordered on mashed, the dressing was zippy and unusual. Served in small cardboard baskets reminiscent of the State Fair, all the dishes put on no airs of fancier fare.

With 32 beers on tap, the drink menu is as extensive and varied as the colors of leaves on an October tree. There are seasonal selections, local favorites and European standbys. If there’s trouble brewing about decisions between domestic or foreign, hoppy or malty, consider a flight. These small tasting selections feature four five-ounce servings of the best on tap.

With old-timey hospitality and modern fixins, New Bohemia lives up to its name. It takes the classic fair of the old country — beer and sausage — and puts an up-to-date, delicious twist on both.

3 out of 4 food monsters.

New Bohemia, 233 E. Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis