Wurzburg Haus

7236 Muncaster Mill Rd.

Rockville

330-0402

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday.

Prices: Most dinner entrees $8 to $13.

Cards: American Express, Visa, MasterCard.

When Wurzburg Haus opened four years ago, it was a plain little storefront with excellent German food, served in big portions at modest prices. Now it has moved to bigger, more plush quarters, but its virtues remain undimmed (although prices are a bit higher). To be sure, not everything here is top-notch -- it never was -- but most of what's served is solidly good, and a few dishes are standouts.

Don't look for lightness on the menu, or for dishes approved by the American Heart Association. Meat is king here -- sausage, schnitzels, pork roast, meatloaf, the works -- and more than a dozen German beers (two of them on draft) are on hand to wash it down. To finish it off, there are hearty, house-baked pastries.

For starters, the goulash soup is a must, a rich, thick brew, nearly solid with lean beef and vegetables, nicely zapped with paprika. The herring salad is very good too, made with apples and beet juice. The potato pancakes, on the other hand, are a disappointment, thick and mealy.

One of the simplest and best entree choices is the sausage, served over an excellent sauerkraut. There are five sausage varieties (plus a combination platter), and although they all are good, the standout is the weisswurst, a very mild and tender veal sausage. A plate of these beauties, eaten with the unusually good house-made rolls and accompanied by a creamy beer, is solid satisfaction. Another simple treat (and inexpensive at $6.25) is the bauern omelet, a very thin, almost crepe-like fried egg wrapped around a mixture of excellent fried potatoes, onion and green pepper along with bits of sausage and pickle. This is homey, rib-sticking stuff, and it's wonderful.

If you want more than sausage, the best entree in the house is the kassler ripchen, a couple of big, thick slices of smoked pork loin, impeccably trimmed, fork-tender and with a lovely, lightly smoky flavor. There are four schnitzels, all made with good quality veal and all served with a very pleasant cucumber salad. A nice choice here is the zigeuner schnitzel, in a tomato-cream sauce with onion, green and red pepper, and paprika.

The sauerbraten, thin slices of marinated beef, is tender and succulent, served with a good sweet and sour red cabbage. (It routinely comes with potato pancakes, but you can specify a substitute.) An even better choice is the goulash, beautifully trimmed cubes of beef in a lovely paprika-laced sauce, with good, tender spaetzle.

If you're a fan of rich, dark beer, don't leave without trying the Celebrator doppel bock, a brew of great body and character. It's $4.25 a bottle, and worth every penny.

The house-made strudel is excellent, with big chunks of firm apple and nicely flaky crust. The black forest cake is a gem, wonderfully light, not over-boozy with kirsch, yet with intense chocolate flavor. The German chocolate cake, an occasional special, is nearly as good. But the bienenstich, a Napoleon-like pastry, is waxy-tasting and oppressively heavy on the almond extract.