Restaurace U Houmra

Chicken Wings, Homer and, of course, BEER!!

Restaurace U Houmra
Šumavska 20, Praha 1
222 510 510

Some of you will fondly remember Sunday nights at the now defunct Cornucopia where people would congregate to watch a new episode of the Simpsons, which they picked up on their satellite from a feed in the UK. Afterwards the staff would put on a tape of reruns that somehow didn’t seem to get old. Some of you old-schoolers can take it back even further to similar nights at the legendary Sports Bar.

Alas, that same magic was not to be found at U Houmra, despite being named for the patriarch of the Simpson family.

U Houmra is an odd combination of families, who find the brightly painted cartoon interior to be child-friendly, and locals drawn by the cheap beer and tacky furniture. Mullet-heads congregate by the bar near the front door, all with waist-wallets and thin mustaches, smoking cigarettes and always holding their cell phones and/or car keys. The bathroom smells like Homer got a hold of some bad pork chops.

But U Houmra is not all bad. In the back, among the cartoons, there are some quiet places to sit and you’ll find a few people having a quiet, honest and cheap meal. And the food isn’t all that bad. There is something about Czech food, you have to admit, that Homer would love.

Homer is pictured all over the menu--once in just his underwear and a bowtie, scratching himself. I said to myself, what would Homer order? I settled on some chicken wings (35 krowns) that, after they cooled off enough to be touched, were simple but good, as was the pickled Hermelin (40 kc). I passed on Homer’s Steak (77 kc) because I despise the mushrooms that were served over it along with ham, onion and cheese and instead went with the pork steak in beer (73 kc) served with onion and bacon. It was juicy and delicious and I could hear Homer slobbering as if his spirit hovered around this odd Vinohrady bar/restaurant.

A friend joined me a little later and ordered a tuna salad (75 kc) despite my objections that Homer doesn’t order salads. Sure enough it was a bad idea with the tuna and vegetables looking suspect and the dressing a dollop of mayo that lucky for my friend came on the side. I seized the moment to continue to pay tribute to everyone’s favorite cartoon glutton and ordered some Smažak (60 kc) , which was a much smarter choice than the tuna salad.

Homer once said, in church I believe, “I’d kill everyone in this room for one drop of sweet sweet beer”. I repeated that famous quote to the waitress, expecting she would share a laugh with me and an anecdote from her favorite episode, but she only gave me an incredulous “prosim?”. I then asked for a Duff but the irony was lost on her. She eyed me menacingly, scratched her head with her pencil and brought me a Gambrinus 10% (.3 11 kc, .5 15 kc) and my friend a Pilsner 12% (.3 14 kc, .5 21 kc). Sure, neither beer is Duff but it these would do Homer just right, cold and crisp.

U Houmra, with it’s background soundtrack of bad Madonna remixes and an atmosphere teetering between kitschy fun and sleazy white-trash hangout, is somehow saved by the good food and images of Homer.

Jeremy Hurewitz

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