Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where We Eat: Mr. Dunderbak's with The Boom Bang and Ponytail

A German inspired restaurant is not the place that a vegetarian expects to find decent food. So the first few times I found myself at Mr. Dunderbak's I put little effort into making a decision. I barely even glanced at the menu before ordering a pretzel, pomme frites and potato lattkes. I always left feeling that the next time I saw a potato would be too soon. On my fourth trip there, I can't help that my friends love the beer, I heard a fellow vegetarian order a "vegetarian rueben." Say what? All of a sudden I began paying attention. It seems that Mr. Dunderbak's had a few vegetarian options that didn't include potatoes or pretzels.

On our last visit, which came shortly after a 13 mile run and shortly before another, I went with my normal appetizer choice of soft pretzel. This time I was given a choice of a super pretzel or an actual German imported soft pretzel. I went with the German one:

I am not proud to admit that the heavy denseness of the German pretzel was too much to get past. Despite my best efforts of dousing it in mustard/ketchup mixtures and drinking lots of water I couldn't help but think 'I should've gotten the super pretzel.' I finished it but it wasn't easy.

While I was working on my pretzel, J-Fur and our friends Bob and Elizabeth were working on her appetizer staple, Pomme Frites. These fried potatoes are the best that I've tried in the bay area. They lack the sweetness and dairy of Datz, aren't too thick or thin and feature a great balance of crisp and soft. The Pomme Frites also aren't overly salted, something that most potatoes can't claim.

For the main course I looked at the menu even though there wasn't a doubt that I would be purchasing the Vegetarian Reuben. Ever since I heard its name whispered I'd been dreaming about getting my own. The Reuben is served with a pickle and more potatoes (chips) which I ignored. The Reuben is an exercise in crispy mush. The top piece of bread is baked to a toast like texture while the inside (sauerkraut, cheese and thousand island dressing) and bottom slice are soggy. I didn't mind it. J-Fur, or someone with a texture problem, probably would. There is a fine line that this Reuben walks. One that dances between too creamy and just right. I've eaten the Reuben twice and the first time it was brilliant. The second time the preparer had put just a little too much dressing on it and it punched me in the gut (for days to come):

J-Fur went with locally made potato and cheese pierogies topped with onions and peppers. They were served alongside sour cream but with their natural taste the topping was not necessary:

To bring the feast to a close, J-Fur ordered a German Chocolate Cake which she passed around the table a few times. My bites were small as chocolate and coconut aren't my thing. But the tastes were not too overpowering so that I couldn't enjoy what was taking place in my mouth. I actually would've eaten more had I not downed some strawberries and whipped cream earlier in Plant City:

From beginning to end Mr. Dunderbak's is a beer place and restaurant that I can get into. Now that I've paid attention to the menu, it is also a place I can frequent quite a few more times before cashing out all the vegetarian options they have to offer. Open late.

Mr. Dunderbak's is located at 14929 Bruce B. Downs in Tampa, FL

Mr. Dunderbak's on Urbanspoon

Are Ponytail done playing live or aren't they? It was only last year that Dustin Wong announced Whartscape 2010 would be the band's last show and rumors of a break-up began rumbling. Then the band complicated things by offering details of a new album. Will they support it? Are these leaders of the yelp revolution living on borrowed time? Should we even care about the future and just live in the present? Here's to number three and "Easy Peasy." Thanks to Pitchfork for the link.

Ponytail-Easy Peasy

The Boom Bang are a garage rock outfit that hail from Norman, Oklahoma. "Tobacula" is a dirty ditty about a smoking vampire or something like that. It sounds like it comes from the bottom of a five mile tunnel a la early Misfits. Tobacula is off the band's debut album World War Fun (out next week). You can catch these guys at SXSW.

The Boom Bang-Tobacula