Mister Hof-brau | Santa Rosa

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012



There are only a handful of restaurateurs in the North Bay that can stir up as much moist-eyed nostalgia as Narsi Samii. A good brisket can do that to a person.

The former owner of Narsi’s Hofbrau in Santa Rosa’s Coddingtown Center, Samii has gentle, soft-spoken way about him that belies the very public fight he waged for two years over his 27-year-old restaurant. At the age when most people consider retirement, Narsii, now 65, waged a $500,000 battle against Simon Property management over his lease. He lost the battle and the restaurant.

But Narsi may have won the war. This week, Narsi and his brother, Sam Samii, opened Mister Hof-brau in the recently vacated SRJC Culinary Cafe space at B and Seventh St.

Cut from the same jib as the French dip, carved turkey and cafeteria-tray Hofbraus that dot the Bay Area*, Mister Hof-brau is predictably predictable. Hunks of roasted meat, mashed potatoes, stuffing, brown gravy and a few cold salads punctuated by piles of sauerkraut, steaming pots of soup (Borscht is a staple) and a case of cakes and pies.

Think Sunday dinner at grandma’s. With a cafeteria tray.

At the heart of the restaurant — a literal glowing red center of heat lamps — is the carvery. Halfway down the 12-foot runway of food, stands a chef with very sharp knives and more than a passing knowledge of poultry and livestock anatomy. He slices thin pieces of moist turkey, roast beef, brisket, pastrami and corned beef and with a quick flick of the wrist, they land on plates neatly piled with stuffing and mashed potatoes, asparagus. Sandwiches get the same treatment, with meat piled onto rye or sourdough, a smear of Thousand Island. Uncomplicated and delicious.

Sides and soups are a bit pedestrian, but comforting, reassuring and easy to chew. Salads mostly hail from a bygone era — lots of iceberg and grated carrots piled with meat. Macaroni. Coleslaw.

But that’s the charm of Mister Hof-brau. It’s exactly what it is and nothing that it’s not. It’s a steam-table sanctuary in an ocean of a la minute eateries, with nothing precious or pedigreed to get in the way of an honest plate of food.

The restaurant is currently awaiting a beer and wine license, and plans to offer morning coffee and pastries as well as some less carnivorous options.

Mister Hof-brau, 458 B St., Santa Rosa, 545-6237.

*If you’re curious, Hofbrau’s in Germany refer to breweries that have ties to the royal court. In the Bay Area,  Hofbraus like SF’s Tommy’s Joynt, Lefty O’Douls and Harry’s Hofbrau are synonymous with the kind of old school cafeteria-style meat-and-potatoes eating you’ll find at Mister Hof-brau.

Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, BiteClubEats.com is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. LOL!!! Epic response!!

    I have to agree, the “Happy Eater’s” comment was definitely idiotic. Apparently they must be clairvoyant and know everything that happens at every restaurant at all times! What a moron. Maybe they’re paid by the Hofbrau or something. Stupid people sure do make life entertaining. Let’s just hope they take your advice at the end of your post…definitely would strengthen the gene pool.

  2. Yeah, you’re right…I came on here JUST to make up such an absurd thing like them making me dress my own sandwich! That’s what gives me pleasure and entertainment in this life, making up obscure comments and insinuating at things that never actually took place. You TOTALLY caught me right in the middle of my lie!!!!

    Be honest, how much inbreeding happened in your family to generate someone as colosally stupid as you?

    Do the world a favor and rinse your mouth out with a revolver.

  3. Heather,

    Now we can all go to Mister Hof Brau and park in the EVIL Simons parking lot for FREE (for a while) and walk over and show down.

    Does the restaurant have a website yet?

    See you there…we’re going tonight!


  4. To Tom….I find it hard to believe they told you to dress your own sandwich, perhaps your IQ is a 3. They do have some of their old staff back or at least I saw several familiar faces & the food was plentiful.

  5. This makes me happy. Narsi’s was a favorite of many and I agree that they got a crappy deal from Simon. Simon is evil in general, so there’s that. The food is good, reliable, and now I can rest easy knowing that my mom has her favorite place to eat back. I love that in the end, Narsi wins with the same home cooked food. Nothing fancy, just good food. Neener, Simon!!

  6. Easy to chew? Ouch!

  7. WOO HOO!! Narsi and family are back!!! I’m so happy they picked themselves up and dusted the Simon dust off their clothes and moved onward and upward! *doing the happy dance!*

    Simon was so wrong to oust them out of Coddingtown. That explains why I don’t go to either Coddingtown or Santa Rosa Plaza.

  8. No joke! They seriously need to get it together…should hire back their old staff or something. Went and got a “sandwich” that consisted basically of an empty roll with nothing in it. The meat was barely visible I got so little. Also was told to dress my own sandwich, even though they asked the person in front of me what they wanted on it. Entire staff seemed like they had a collective IQ of 3.

  9. I have been twice, love the custard. Open face Hot Turkey with mashed potatoes and stuffing, both times the food was cold and the stuffing really dry. Hope they get back into the groove.

  10. I hope he has a contract this time…..

  11. Welcome Back! I’ve missed your food! I was so sad when your restaurant closed. Can’t wait to eat your food again!

  12. Welcome back Narsi! ill be having my open face turkey dinner with lots of cranberry and some bread pudding…Yummy!

  13. That’s because you had Willie Bird to fall back on. (Somehow this ended up at the top of the page!?!)

  14. That’s because you had Willie Bird to fall back on.

  15. What’s the relationship to the old Mister Hof Brau on Sutter Street in San Francisco. That was one of my childhood favorites.

  16. If just one person per household went and ate there it would help show that SIMON properties is the donkey in this town!

  17. Ate there last week as well and found that the food is just as we remember, pretty good and plenty of it. It was great to see Narsi and it appears he has new staff who are very friendly. Only suggestion would be to improve the decor at some point. Pretty stark and not as comfortable feeling as the original Narsi’s. But with that aside, we will continue to be regulars.

  18. Mister Hofbrau serves up a delicious hot plate of homemade, fresh food….you don’t find food like this in Sonoma County, so I am very happy we have a Hofbrau in town, welcome! The homemade soups & custard are really good. They make everything fresh daily, even the salad dressing is homemade. If you haven’t eaten at a Hofbrau, you must try this place!

  19. I’m very happy Narsi’s is back. I missed him and his family. We were at the new place last week. As always, they were warm and welcoming, remembering our names and favorite dishes. It’s a perfect place to go for a home-style meal. Love the borscht.

    As an aside, they’re very Weight Watchers friendly. I like to have a chef salad with sliced turkey breast and a cup of borscht. No fuss, no muss, and no silliness of taking way too long to ask and explain to a server how you’d like your order modified.

  20. Good for him! Anytime you slay the Simon ogre it’s a big win for the Community. Have they filled his space in Coddingtown yet? Oh wait, they’re too busy trying to stick shoppers with a parking fee at the always empty Plaza to be bothered with actual retail…..

  21. Narsi’s was missed. He and his family got a raw deal and a lot of people lost their jobs. It was a classic case of corporate greed. Every now and then a guy needs a dark meat hot turkey sandwich or a steaming plate of good hot pastrami. Welcome back Narsi!

  22. um, can’t wait…oh, but then again, I waited before and didn’t miss it…

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