1 Soi 20, Thanon Sukhumvit
BTS Skytrain: Asok or Phrom Phong
As it turned out, Bei Otto seems pretty authentic to me. The owner is a German chef who was hired to run the flagship beer hall of a Thai brewery company. After three years he quit to start his own restaurant. Bei Otto has been in Bangkok ever since. And yes, his name is Otto.
I had the B.220 ($5.25) set lunch, available daily except Sunday, when there's a buffet spread which I intend to come back and try. The set lunch consisted of German Stew (a ham and vegetable stew), Chicken Escalope in Gravy Sauce (actually chicken breast slices under a tomato sauce) with home fried potatoes and fresh salad. A banana fritter with vanilla sauce dessert was included. I also ordered a glass of apple wine (B.110, $2.63).
The stew was quite good, if a bit salty, though the chicken breast (which came with sauteed onions and peppers) suffered because I was expecting a brown sauce, not tomato. The home fries were excellent, with onion and ham. The salad was fresh, and came with a vinagrette on the side. I had a brief moment of concern as to whether I should be eating raw lettuce in Thailand, but the fact that the place was an expatriate hangout (there were Germans, English, and American businessmen eating around me, judging from conversation) reassured me, and in the event, I had no stomach problems afterward.
The batter-fried banana fritters were a bit too much fritter and not enough banana, but were tasty, swimming in a vanilla sauce and topped with cinnamon sugar.
Service was excellent, so I rounded up the 10% service to about 15%. The extensive menu, full of German specialities and beer, is in German and English. (I didn't find maultaschen, but I guess they're Swabian.) Decor is reasonably reminiscent of a traditional German restaurant, with lots of wood all around. The walls are decorated with all kinds of expatriate memorabilia; it's clear the local community eats and drinks here regularly.
Bei Otto has both a European restaurant and a German one in the same complex. (I can't remember which one was which but I have a flier with the hours and will update that when I have the flier in front of me.) There's also a bakery, a butcher's shop, a delicatessen, and an international press shop.
There are a couple of items on the menu I find intriguing, like the smoked fish platter, and the selection of liver sausages, which I think I'll order sometime if I get the chance.
An authentic German lunch for less than eight euros, including drinks and tip. Try finding that kind of deal back in Germany.