This past weekend, Nicole and I visited Boston to see Jim Gaffigan. Despite growing up in New England, I haven’t spent all that much time in Boston. So, I asked my friend Mike, for some recommendations on things to do and places to eat at and atop his list was a German restaurant named Jacob Wirth right near the theater. And after our last post on pretzel bread, we might as well keep the German theme going! The visit was made particularly special because most of my family joined for the dinner (and the whole weekend)!
Apologies for the photo quality, but we were stuck using the cell phone again for our pictures. Nicole just got a new camera so we’ll have to start remembering to take that with us!
Ambiance & Decor
This is one of the few restaurants we’ve reviewed so far where the exterior is something to note. We loved the very old-timey look of the exterior of the building and the signs (see above).
Once inside, we were greeted with quite a strange atmosphere. The restaurant is listed as a German restaurant, but it was very evident that we were in the U.S. While they had lots of German and Bavarian flags, beers, and decorations, we were also surrounded by TVs showing sporting events, giving it a bit of an American sports bar feel. As well, on the side of the restaurant was a man playing a piano who at random points throughout the night would start a sing-song (e.g. with all the surrounding tables.
It all made for a bit of a strange mix, but Mike was right – it was a fun atmosphere. I would normally say a restaurant should focus its appearance on one particular theme, but Jacob Wirth showed that it’s definitely doable with a mish-mash.
Food & Drink
As I mentioned above, JW has an excellent selection of beer. As you can see from the picture of the interior, the walls are lined with old taps that I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) were served at the restaurant at one point or another. Their current list had 44 draught beers and over 20 bottled beers from Germany, Belgium, and England. As well, there was a selection of almost 20 bottled beers from the U.S. and a sizeable gluten-free beer section. Nicole and I ended up splitting a pitcher of Lammsbrau Organic Pilsner, brewed by Neumarkter.
To start the service, our waitress brought over a “cone” of corn bread. Now I love corn bread, so I was happy to see it, but it was a bit strange to see as an appetizer in a German restaurant. I guess just another oddity of JW. In any case, it was quite good. Not quite as moist as I’d like it, but still excellent.
For our main, Nicole and I split an order of (quite expensive) Jaeger Schnitzel. At $24 a plate, it was 1.5-2 times the price of most other items on the menu. The description sounded fantastic – “Breaded Fresh Veal Tenderloin Served Over Mushroom and Sweet Pea Handmade Spaetzel with a Jagermeister Sauce.” When we visited Heidelberg a couple of years ago, schnitzels were one of our favorite dishes that we (frequently) had, so we were excited to try it here. The dish was quite well done – very crispy fried schnitzel served over mildly (dill-) spiced spaetzle and topped with mushrooms and sauce. I did really enjoy the dish, but I think it was a shame how little sauce was added. Veal (and spaetzle) are not overly strong flavors on their own but do a fantastic job carrying other flavors, which are usually in the sauce that typically smothers the schnitzel. It’s a minor complaint that I think would make a major improvement.
Since we had so many others at dinner this time, we were able to try a a couple of JW wursts as well. My mom and sister both ordered the Grilled Weisswurst and my brother got the Jake’s Black Label Sausage. All wursts are served on a large pretzel bun with either sauerkraut or red cabbage and a side. These sandwiches were fantastic! The wurst (especially the black label sausage) was excellently spiced and complimented perfectly by the sauerkraut. Top it off with the pretzel bun and you’ve got a hell of a sandwich. Given that these are half the price of the schnitzels, I would definitely recommend the wurst over the schnitzel.
Finally, we somehow made room for their very reasonably-priced dessert. I couldn’t turn down a $1(!) root beer float, and others at the table got the German Chocolate Cake Woopie Pie, carrot cake, and warm apple strudel. Despite the woopie pie being filled with coconut shavings (which I typically hate), I still loved the pie and definitely suggest it.
The service at JW was quite good. We were seated promptly and weren’t kept waiting too long at any point. Our server was friendly enough and I didn’t feel like she was overbearing at any point. A small issue was that our server was unable to split the bill at all, a task that should be quite easy. Otherwise, no complaints!
The Final Word
The odd-yet-charming feel, the delicious food, and the fantastic beer selection all make for a great experience. Whether you’re going for a few beers with friends or for a full meal, Jacob’s is Wirth the visit! We give JW 4.5 out of 5 hammers.