My spouse is a big fan of German food so he was excited to try out Pioneer. I'm not into sauerkraut and such but I was intrigued enough by the "Alpine cuisine" label to try it out. I like trying new food and I appreciate that chefs want to be adventurous but there comes a point where I balk (garlic ice cream anyone?).
We arrived at 5:30 on a Saturday evening and had both ample parking behind the restaurant and seating inside. The decor is industrial modern, lots of metal and exposed brick. There is a fairly large stage area where they apparently have bands play occasionally. My musician spouse noticed that several of the drink names reflected music industry references.
My spouse had really been looking forward to getting an Ayinger Maibock beer on tap and was disappointed that they were out.
Our server seemed a little new and nervous but he warmed up and was enthusiastic about imparting information about preparations and making recommendations. I specifically inquired as to whether the potato pancakes were made with onions and added them to the order when he said no. Now a more experienced server would probably have noted that the menus does not indicate that they come out with a sprinkling of chives on top and would have intercepted the dish before they were added, based on my stated aversion of onions. But that's a small quibble and I was able to scrape the chives off and still enjoy the meal.
We had the side dishes of brown butter carrots and the potato pancakes. Both were excellent; I would have liked to have had maybe a tad more of the garnish sauces just to be better able to taste them. For entrees I had the gnocchi and my spouse got the sausage plate. We also shared an apple strudel for dessert. Each time I took a first taste of one of the dishes a voice inside my head was like "Oh yeah, this is going to be good!" Everything was fresh and flavorful. It reminded me of the way fruits and vegetables tasted the first time I went to a farmer's market in Europe. In the US we get so used to fruits and vegetables picked before they are ripe and shipped across the country that we don't remember what the real thing tastes like anymore. The gnocchi was light and the tomato sauce bright and sharp. The strudel was small but packed a lot of flavor with the tartness of the apples and the sweetness of the caramel sauce. My spouse mentioned that the sausage didn't really taste like German sausage and finally figured out that their in-house made sausage was denser and less fatty than the average German sausage. It came on a bed of very buttery mashed potatoes topped with cooked cabbage. This was the most expensive item we ordered at $35 but for the quality and portion size (enough to take home for another meal), we considered it fair.
So with two sides, two beers, two entrees, and one dessert, the bill was $87 without gratuity. A bit of an indulgence but the taste and quality was worth paying for.
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