Thursday, June 20, 2024

A brunch at Bronwyn in Somerville’s Union Square. (Photo: Tom Meek)

We get to ring the bell on a 10-year anniversary celebration for Bronwyn, which serves German and Eastern European culinary classics in Union Square. The brat-and-beer eatery is one of those half-dozen or so places in Camberville where, when you walk in the door, you feel like you’ve walked into another country or universe. The interior is old-school bohemian with some Beowulf-approved mead hall, plus little tchotchkes of dorky Americana that fold in seamlessly. It’s dark, woody and cozy, and it feels like home when you pull up to the bar on a wide, round cloth-upholstered stool. Outside dining is off the muffler-beaten path, and is intimate and shaded.

The way things work at Bronwyn, which spun off from the now-gone, fabulous TW Foods that held culinary court for so long on Walden Street in Cambridge: The dinner menu come as a three-course prix fixe, though you can pick and choose off the menu. (Bronwyn also maintains a 20 percent service change on all bills, so tipping is built-in.)

The menu, as you can guess, is pretty meaty and reads a little like an Ikea catalog, with entries such as the Königsteller, a meat, sausage, potato and sauerkraut feast for two, or the Placky, a Slovakian potato pancake with pickled beets and dill crème fraîche – a must try.

Of course there’s spätzle, the Schwabian noodles that come with aged cheddar, spinach and a red onion marmalade (where else can you get red onion marmalade?) to which you can add house sausage; classic schnitzel (a tasty pork cutlet); and Bronwyn’s spin on sauerbraten (marinated beef) with cabbage and a black cherry barbecue sauce. For the more American carnivore taste buds, there is the Brondog and Bronburger. Not all on the menu is carni; there are veggie pierogis that comes with that delightful dill crème fraîche – though be warned they are fried, not steamed – and the Erbsensuppe, a warm green pea and mint soup. The soup is a hearty, healthy meal on its own. And know that nearly every dish come with a side of grainy horseradish mustard to accent.

Bronwyn’s welcoming, woodsy interior. (Photo: Tom Meek)

The place on the menu I kept finding myself was among the smaller plates, where you can get sides of the succulent sauerkraut; a warm, fluffy Bavarian pretzel; and rich, juicy house (haus) made sausage. Bronwyn also serves brunch that means smaller sizes of the meat offerings (sausage, sauerbraten, etc.) with eggs made perfectly your way (my over-easy requests never disappoint) and German potatoes. You can get a schnitzel sando, wurst and waffles, and there’s the pfannkuchen, a thick, cast-iron German pancake. The beer list, as one might expect is an Oktoberfest-at-home list of imports that are hard to find otherwise. The grapefruit-infused Radler is perfect for these summer months – delicious and super refreshing, like a shandy but even zestier and lighter. Radler beer came to be when a German innkeeper near a bike path wanted to offer cyclists something refreshing, not ale-heavy, at his nearby biergarten. You can also get a Gin Radler, something of a crisp, not sweet Negroni spin.

Now that a Community Path Extension connects Somerville’s Davis Square to Cambridge’s Lechmere and Cambridge Crossing, take a spin on a bike, work up an appetite and jump off to hit Bronwyn for brats and beers. 

Bronwyn (255 Washington St., Union Square, Somerville) 

Tom Meek is a writer living in Cambridge. His reviews, essays, short stories and articles have appeared in the WBUR ARTery, The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Globe, The Rumpus, The Charleston City Paper and SLAB literary journal. Tom is also a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics and rides his bike everywhere.