Everyone and their dog was looking for the Ark last Friday as the rain kept coming down. But padre, la mère, and myself, we were resigned to our watery fate and went looking for happy hour. We sought refuge at Fabi+Rosi, where our story begins…
Like something out of Hansel and Gretel, only with more chandeliers, white plush seating and more bubbles, we hurried into the foyer of the dimly lit dining room. Having arrived just at 5, we were the only ones aside from the hostess in the room, which is a first for us. With our pick of tables, we took a seat by the window, when I noticed this guy staring at us. But it’s ok, he’s kinda cute right?
There are two kinds of happy hours: food heavy and drink heavy. In true German fashion, Fabi+Rosi is a food heavy happy hour. You’ll get some serious discounts on the starters – which we definitely took advantage of – but not so much on the drinks. But go on Thursday and they have half off all bubbles! That’s my kind of place right there.
While not exactly what I was expecting (apparently the duo have a somewhat loose interpretation of terrine) the goat cheese and grilled vegetable terrine was great. While our other dishes overshadowed this one in particular. There’s nothing I would change about it per se, but aside from the presentation it was rather unimpressive.
A new addition to the Fabi+Rosi menu, the Brotzeit board was as German as German gets. But unlike most German food found in the states, it was delicious. The pretzel, though a bit smaller, was reminiscent of the bigger-than-your-face bretzel I found in the Munich English Gardens. And of course, bratwurst. But what deserves a special shout out is the beer cheese. Now normally, even in my experience in Deutschland proper, beer cheese is just pimento cheese without the pimentos, a gooey mass that resembles a blog of American cheese mixed with mayonnaise. But not this beer cheese! This version had more of a goat cheese flavoring, chalkier than other iterations, that defied the definition of the normal bland spread that seems like a mixture of leftover curd. Props guys.
I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried to eat oysters on the shell. But I just can’t. It seems just so classy, a glass of champagne and a platter of oysters, the iridescent shell shimmering in the light of the golden hour. But I’ve learned that it’s just not worth it to choke it down, or in this case have the slimy mollusk slide down your throat. Blech. But these crispy oysters on the other hand are a true testament that everything is better when fried. Using the schnitzel technique, these buggers have a light, crispy breaded coating on a subtle aioli smear. They’re perfect.
And then there’s this. The Knödel. I unfortunately didn’t get to snag a picture of my massive knödel in a Munich brauhaus, but let me tell you it’s something spectacular. Though these were listed as a side dish to a main course, I had to try them. The picture may be misleading, but they were somewhat smaller than what I’d tried previously. But what they lacked in size they made up for in flavor. Tailoring the herbs and spices to an American palate (well, in the original version I don’t think there are any herbs or spices) these knödeln were the best potato-crouton-ball you ever did see. Additionally, I don’t have a picture of the schnitzel, because it’s not on happy hour. But schnitzel y’all – do it.
Now it was a bit offsetting to be the only folks in the restaurant for a time. I guess not everyone likes to start their night so early. But if you’re down for some one-on-one attention, a sultry ambiance, and some stiff German cuisine, Fabi+Rosi’s happy hour can deliver.
Fabi + Rosi Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 5-6:30
509 Hearn St, Austin, TX 78703
$5 starters, $8 boards, $2 off wine and beer; Champagne Thursday, half off all bubbles