Home > Restaurants > People’s Pub – 2/23/2011

People’s Pub – 2/23/2011


Location: 5429 Ballard Ave NW


Mon-Sun: 3-2

Happy Hour:

Mon-Sun: 3-7

Due to a roast that failed to defrost entirely, J and I decided to head out for a mid-week meal to one of our go-to restaurants, The People’s Pub.

The People’s Pub is Ballard’s one German restaurant, with a great selection of German beers and interesting regional entrees. Serving everything from delicious, deep fried pickles to doner kebab to enough schnitzels to get one over the Alps, this place gives you a hearty, European alternative to the bar food found along Ballard Ave.

I’m not sure I would call the People’s Pub’s dark, cave like interior “inviting” but it is comfortable. The front dining area is family and group friendly while the back bar is a little darker with a large selection of draft beers and a weird, reverse J shaped bar tucked in the corner. The TVs in both the front and back will be playing, 8 times out of 10, movies or cartoons rather than the usual sports found in other bars. Last night they were playing “The Godfather”.

Their happy hour is great. Most drafts and wells are $3.25. The special happy hour menu is plentiful with appetizers, salads and burgers. And they have daily specials. Wednesday nights, the night we went, is German night with German drafts at $3.25 and $1.00 off German bottled beers and German entrees. Since we usually get the sausage plate, with its selection of tasty Bavarian Meats sausages, we decided to try something different and ordered off the entrée list. Their entrees run towards the $15-$19 range, which might be considered a bit expensive but they’re worth it for their flavor and heartiness.

I should admit that J and I are a bit biased about the People’s Pub. We’ve been to and had birthday gatherings here. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Ballard and has emotional meaning as well. We ended our first date with dinner there.

The Service:

Our server was friendly and polite. He was easily able to answer J’s question about their draft cider selection and even described the taste of it from first hand knowledge.

The Drinks:

I ordered a pint of Reisdorf Kolsch, which is a light, clean tasting German beer. J ordered a pint of Ace Apple Cider, a new cider for him. He found it almost beery in taste with a sparkling finish.

The Food:

My German entrée was the Rinderrouladen, braised beef rolls stuffed with bacon, onions, mustard and pickles served with a red wine onion demi reduction, mashed potatoes and rotkohl. I’ve seen this on their menu forever. The construction of the beef rolls was akin to sausages with a crust on the outside. Each roll was cut in half to make 4 huge halfs. The meat was moist, taking on the flavor of the stuffing. The mashed potatoes were chunky with skins mixed throughout, which is the way I like them. Creamy without feeling heavy or fatty. The rotkohl, red cabbage side, was kind of flavorless though. The description claims it’s cooked with apples, onions and red wine but it seemed like all the flavor those items should have imparted had been cooked out.

The winner of the dish was the red wine, onion demi reduction. It had all the flavor that the rotkohl should have had. A sharp almost tangy red wine flavor with an undercurrent of pepper and onions. The sauce complimented the beef rolls and the potatoes perfectly.

J had the Goulash, a slow-simmered beef stew with onions, tomatoes and garlic served with a dollop of sour cream and his favorite, spatzle. The meat was tender. The sauce was tasty with special mention of the tomatoes and the dollop of sour cream. Their spatzle was great as always. A winner all around.

J and I also ordered their Crème Brulee to share. We are fans of this pariticular dessert, having tried many different styles of Crème Brulee throughout Seattle. The People’s Pub is our favorite. It arrives in a small ramekin that is a bit taller than any other Crème Brulee we’ve had. The top was perfectly melted to a glassy, slightly burnt golden brown that cracked in big chunks. The vanilla crème part was cold and creamy without being heavy. Even though it’s a custard it felt light. A great, relatively inexpensive crème brulee.

The Price:

Reisdorf Kolsch: $3.25, Happy Hour/German Night ($5.00 normally)

Ace Apple Cider: $3/25, Happy Hour ($4.50 normally)

Rinderrouladen: $18.00, German Night ($19.00 normally)

Goulash: $15.00, German Night ($16.00 normally)

Crème Brulee: $6.00

The Verdict:

The People’s Pub remains one of our favorite restaurants in Ballard. The comfortable atmosphere, the great beers and the interesting food all keep it at the top our list. With the great happy hour selections and a crème brulee to die for, we have no problem recommending anyone … except maybe vegans … go out of their way to try some unique German fare. Die Volkskneipe ist sehr gut.


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