Review of Newest Addition to the Bethesda Food Scene
Restaurants in downtown Bethesda come and go. The German-styled Tyber Beirhaus is only the latest addition to an active restaurant scene, and judging by my first experience there, this beer house has a ways to go… but with good potential.
With a wide variety of European beers and an array of brats and other bar fare, the Tyber Bierhaus may fit the bill for nearby office workers after a long day at the office. But our experience recently was a bit lacking.
We arrived on a late Sunday afternoon, when the restaurant was largely empty and the few patrons were gathered by the bar watching basketball. The restaurant is tabled off into three sections: cafeteria-style seating along the front, high stools and tables in the bar area and more traditional wooden tables and chairs in the back. Our host Michael directed us to the bar area at a communal table, although we were the only ones seated there.
One of the first things we noticed was that the place smelled of paint or lacquer. Considering Tyber had opened less than two weeks before, it wasn’t a complete surprise… but a bit unappetizing. After giving us a few moments to sit down and settle in, our bright smiling with a magnetic personality waiter; Michael asked us for our drink order and directed us toward the extensive beer menu.
Though Tyber is a bar that focuses on European beers, they seemed to be out of quite a few. Our first four inquiries were not available that day, but Michael was good-natured about it and offered taste tests of comparable options. We settled on an amber ale as we reviewed the food options. The prices are on par with the meal selection for other Bethesda restaurants so we decided to order the Herb Crusted Salmon and the Pork Schnitzel. While our order was being taken care of it was time for the restroom check.
First off, you’re going to have to ask where to find the bathrooms since there are no signs indicating their location. One of the waiters made a joke that they’re hard to locate and that neon signage might be a good addition. Candles made the restrooms smell great and they seemed to be spotless, which made me feel comfortable returning to our table for dinner.
Our plates arrived and the breaded Pork Schnitzel came plated with grilled red cabbage and seasoned red potatoes. It was a generous helping, evenly cooked and full of flavor. I’m not usually a cabbage lover, but I think the grilled aspect to it opened up the flavors and that was the key to its delicious taste.
I am quite the salmon lover so I was a bit disappointed when the first thing I noticed was the heavy cream sauce placed upon it. I had to double-check the menu to see if I had missed that addition, which is a big deal because I am lactose intolerant. The menu did not state there would be a cream sauce and as much as I hate sending food back, I had to. My waiter was very apologetic about having to bring my order back, making me wait even longer to eat.
About 15 minutes later my new and improved salmon arrived and I was more than ready to dive in. I placed my fork in the middle ready to tear into it when I noticed the middle of the fish was pretty much fleshy and raw, though the outside was surprisingly dry (I guess that’s what the cream sauce was for). As not to send my food back yet again, I decided to just eat the perimeter of the salmon and the veggies that came along with it.
The saving grace was dessert. While they were out of two of the three desserts on the menu, Michael did recommend the Poppy Seed Cake (which was on the house since we weren’t having great luck with the menu or the food). I’ll be honest: I did not have high hopes for this cake. But when that first bite was in my mouth, all I remember saying was “ OH-HELL-TO-THE- YES!!!!!” Seriously, it was that amazingly good! Melt in your mouth good. No I’m not sharing good. If I had known it was all-that, I would have ordered the Poppy Seed Cake first. The chocolate filled pastry nearly redeemed the disappointment from our earlier entrees.
I really wanted to like Tyber Bierhaus. The service is top notch and the atmosphere is filled with 20-30somethings full of high energy and fun. But the scant selection of beer and food available (even on a slow Sunday afternoon) will have me walking away from this one….but with a piece of Poppy cake under my arm.
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Disclaimer: When I write about a restaurant needing improvement it is always coming from a place of love. I love food, respect and admire chefs and restaurant owners. I want you to win, excel and wow your patrons every time. Please take my writing about my experiences at your establishment as being on your side and wanting the absolute best for you for years to come.