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Locale Profile: Faust Hofbrauhaus

faustNo one can deny that Providence has some of the best restaurants in the Northeast, but as far as ethnic food, Italian and Mexican seem to dominate the spectrum. Opened just weeks ago, the new Dean Hotel is throwing some German food into the mix. Faust Hofbrauhaus is downtown Providence’s newest culinary addition, located on Fountain Street right next to Murphy’s. My exposure to the cuisine of Deutschland is admittedly pretty limited, so I decided to give Faust a try.

Germans are often stereotyped as being cold and uninviting, but the atmosphere inside Faust is anything but. The dining area is one large rectangular room with an eight-seat bar near the entrance, and the tables are wooden bench-style seating. There are a handful of two-person tables, and three large banquet-sized ones for bigger parties. The low lighting and echoing voices give the room the feel of a Beowulf-style mead hall, where you can just imagine fierce, bearded warriors clinking together huge goblets of alcohol.

Germany certainly doesn’t mess around when it comes to their beer; for centuries, the law known as ‘Reinheitsgebot’ mandated that brewers use minimal ingredients to keep the beer as pure as possible. Keeping in the tradition, Faust has a rotating selection of drafts and bottles from the motherland at the ready (they also had good ol’ American Stone IPA for the less adventurous). I was way out of my comfort zone, as the beers had names like the “weihenstephan josefi maibock” and the “kulmbacher EKU 28 doppelbock.” When decision time came, I got nervous and just called out the “ayinger celebrator dopplebock!” at random. It was delicious.

The food offerings consist of some of Germany’s most famous dishes. For starters, they offer things like white asparagus, Bavarian pretzels, and buttermilk fried chicken livers. Faust also includes a small selection of bratwursts (of course), including the jagerwurst, with mustard seed and coriander, and the currywurst, flavored with curry powder. But German food isn’t all sausages, and the restaurant also has dinner plates that include beef cheek goulash, pork schnitzel with vinegar-brazed onions, and baked chive spaetzle with artichokes. For dessert, they offer the sachertorte, an Austrian chocolate cake.

I thought I should start with a German standard introduction, so I went with the classic brat, and it was not a letdown. Thirteen dollars is a bit pricey for a sausage, but with a generous helping of sauerkraut, it was big enough to satisfy even the largest appetites. The super-addictive fries that accompanied it were seasoned with a little bit of curry powder, and the plate was topped off with a glob of spicy mustard.

These days, food trends tend to go toward the health-conscious, with more and more vegan and vegetarian options popping up every day. But for unapologetic, beer-loving carnivores like myself, Faust is an old-school night out.

Faust Hofbrauhaus is located at the Dean Hotel, 122 Fountain St., Providence.

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