Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Restaurant Success in Hobro

I'm sure you've heard me whine about the lack of good eating establishments in Denmark.  Good isn't even the right word, because most of the restaurants we've tried during our nearly two years here have been good, decent, okay, just passing the mark.  You get the picture.  But no where near great.  Also, let me say that I am referring to restaurants in the places I've lived in West and North Jutland, not Copenhagen or even Aalborg or Aarhus.  I haven't spent enough time (or money, as the case may be) in those places to judge.

So, it was with trepidation that Alan and I visited Bie's Bryghus, a newly restored brewery and restaurant, right here in our little town of Hobro.  The good news is that we were delighted with the food.  There wasn't really any bad news, per se, but we did experience a service glitch that caught us by surprise.  I'll get to that in a minute.

It was a big night out for us.  If you can believe it, it was our first date night in Denmark in almost two years.  We just don't know that many people to ask for babysitting help and frankly, it's expensive (and not always rewarding) to eat out.  But, of course, it's not like we have to spend money to have a great date night.  We realize this.

But the point is that we got out.  As the Danish say, Bedre sent end aldrig...or better late than never.

We started with drinks.  The colorful drink is called a Madam Blå (blue), a mix of vodka, sprite, and blue coloring.  I'm not really sure what I was thinking when I ordered it except we were at a brewery, I don't drink beer, and the other drink selections were minimal at best.  It felt sort of fun to have a blue drink (I can only imagine all the chemicals I ingested), but it would have been much better served on the rocks.  Ice is just not a hot commodity in Europe.

Soon we moved on to a starter of fresh salmon, blanched asparagus spears atop a bed of greens, edible flowers, and the most delicious creamy dill sauce.  It was served with a basket of bread and a pretty pat of butter.  Okay, the bread.  Nothing was wrong with it, it was quite tasty in fact, but getting a second helping was a different story.

Our sweet but clearly inexperienced waitress (I truly believe it was her first night waitressing let alone the restaurant's opening night) was clueless about virtually everything on the menu.  I suppose it didn't help that we asked her to translate different parts of it.  But she's originally from Australia, and English is her mother tongue.  At any rate, when we casually asked for more bread, we were met with a sweet smile and a surprisingly odd reply of "I will go ask the chef if it's okay."  We were dumbfounded.

Now it's one thing to apply a nominal or small surcharge for extra bread, but to question a customer's request in such a blatant and awkward way?  Not the best customer service, to say the least.  A few minutes later she returned and told us that it was too busy in the kitchen and that she didn't think she could bring us any more bread. Ordinarily, it might not matter if there was no bread left, but apart from being annoyed by the principle of being told No to more bread (when we knew there was more), we were actually hoping for another piece to eat with what was left of the salmon starter.

We let her know that we were unhappy but told her that we understood that things were hectic for them on opening night.  Not five minutes later, she returned with an apology and...more bread.

The funny thing about my entree is that I didn't quite know what I was ordering.  Turns out, I ordered ribs.  If you know me, you know that I would never, ever order ribs.  I've never liked them.  But in an effort to be a good sport, I dug in and was surprised by how delicious they were. There was a lot of meat on each one, it was flavorful, and the sauce with which they were cooked in was fantastic.

Alan enjoyed a steak and roasted baby potatoes.

We plan to return to Bie's Bryghus.  Only next time, I will bring some bread in my purse.

And just in case you don't believe all you've heard about the Danes leaving their babies outside to sleep, here it is, photographic evidence.


  1. Glad you got out! Those sleeping babies could have been us the other night. We had Josh napping the car seat while the 3 of us ate dinner on a restaurant patio. We tucked him into a shady corner and the waitress didn't know we had him until he woke up and joined us!

  2. Okay, Alissa, you would be right at home here in Denmark!

  3. Hi!
    Wonderful blog! I have always been interested in Denmark and all things Danish so your blog makes for addictive reading! LOL
    I worked as a chef in Madsen,a Danish restaurant in London, and the food is truly delicious there. My boss, Rene Madsen, left to go back to Jutland where he is from. I don't know exactly where he is working now but keep your eyes peeled and if you can find where he works, go for it, I heartily recommend his cuisine.


  4. Hi Gabriela,
    Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!! What a great recommendation, too!