Right down Union Street sandwiched between Marotta’s and Café Nola, lies the culinary hell-storm known as Bier Abbey. I cannot begin to list all of the terrible aspects of my experience but I will try.
Bier Abbey claims to offer classic pub food with a twist. The menu is packed with fried and greasy food, including wings, chicken tenders, fish and chips, burgers, etc. They sported several different mixes of fries including Belgian Fries (frites with a variety of sauces and) and Abbey Cheese Fries (their “Bier” cheese sauce over frites with a sprinkle of bacon and chives). Initially this sounded like my kind of place, but boy was I dead wrong.
When we first entered the restaurant, we were initially met with difficulty getting a seat despite our reservation. However, we were accommodated by the warm and delightful hostess. We sat down and the environment was very rustic yet artistic. There were tinted glass windows that a classic chapel would usually have. A hockey game was projected on a 10×10 foot wall. The faint smell of roasted potatoes and garlic was in the air. Overall, I was impressed by the atmosphere.
We sat down, read the menus, yada yada yada. A whole ten minutes later, our waitress introduces herself and takes our drink order. An excusable ten more minutes passed, and finally our drinks came and we ordered our main courses.
My party and I ordered wings as an appetizer and an assortment of burgers and fish and chips for the main course.
As the thirty-five minutes passed before the wings came, our hunger intensified from “I could eat” to gnawing. In terms of presentation and taste, I must commend them for this dish. The ten medium bone-in wings were an architectural marvel to look at, stacked on top of each other with a fire-y orange aura. The meat was natural, fall-off-the-bone and tasty. The wings were the perfect level of spiciness. The wings engender a long-lasting zing that you will not forget. However, the wings were on the smaller side. They only provided two small carrot sticks and one and a half celery sticks, which was disappointing.
Wings finished, mouth zinging from the spice, we were hungrier than ever and longing for a palate change. We stayed hungry for a looong time. After thirty minutes, our waitress told us that the food would be out in a couple minutes. Liar! 45 minutes later, the food actually came out, totaling to an hour and fifteen minutes of waiting in between the appetizer and the main course.
Waiting that long, we felt like the chef drove up to Lake George and caught the cod himself. The cow was probably still moo-ing when we walked in too. After waiting for an hour and fifteen minutes in addition to the thirty-five minutes for the appetizer, we had certain expectations, and these expectations were not met in the slightest.
The fish and chips were a downright disappointment that I wouldn’t serve to convicted murderers in prison. Bier Abbey took the name “fish and chips” literally, as they only give one giant piece of fried fish, as opposed to several fish-like tenders. The fish was deep-fried in a thick batter. The batter-to-fish ratio was a travesty: two forkfuls of fish to one thick and overly abundant coat of fried batter. In addition, the batter resembled more of a sweet funnel cake than a savory fish dish. It seems as though they confuse salt with sugar often since the veggie patty was also surprisingly sweet instead of savory. This lapse in basic culinary knowledge is inexcusable.
The burger was at best mediocre. Blanketed in copious amount of “Bier” (beer) cheese, with bacon and caramelized onions, it had all of the components for a good burger. Somehow, it just did not work. The patty was more overcooked than the medium that I ordered. A tear was shed for the bacon that got lost and was undetectable. I would have to say that the plethora of monotonous cheese was the nail in the coffin. The only two driving flavors in the burger were the caramelized onions and the pickles, which were tasty, but indicative of a poorly executed dish. In a burger, the patty is supposed to take the spotlight and have some condiments as the back-up to add depth and complexity. When the back-up is the spotlight, we have a problem.The fries were ehhh. Resembling Five Guys’ fries, the fries were a tad soggy and lacked that characteristic crunch. They were under-seasoned and desperately needed salt and pepper. If you ever go to Bier Abbey make sure you get the Belgian Fries or the Abbey fries, since the regular fries were a disappointment.
Ultimately, you’re better off eating at West than Bier Abbey. You’re better off eating jello off of the Pyramids than eating at Bier Abbey. If you’re in the area, eat next door at Marotta’s or Café Nola. Do not eat at Bier Abbey unless you want to wait more than two hours for sub-par food. In the words of one Union student: “You need to be very, very drunk to enjoy Bier Abbey.”