Valentine’s Day snuck up on us again in 2019. Last year, we made a hasty decision to have Valentine’s dinner at Refugio, a restaurant at Hotel La Casa in Tübingen. It was the same place we celebrated in 2017, although 2018’s dinner was not quite as good and lacked the same caliber of entertainment the restaurant had in 2017.
This year, we’ve moved to Wiesbaden, and Bill has been very busy with work. Consequently, we almost didn’t go anywhere this year. The Cajun place near us was having a special dinner, but we’re going to France today to celebrate President’s Day weekend and I thought it would be better to have lunch from there before we go.
I consulted OpenTable to see if there was any hope of having dinner on the town. Sure enough, there were ten restaurants with availability. One of them was the lovely Little Italy, but we’ve already eaten there three times– most recently this past Sunday. Another was an American style sports bar, which probably wouldn’t be very romantic. A third was a German restaurant called Ratskeller, which we tried in December. I wanted to go somewhere different, preferably with great food. I took notice of a place called Franks– The Culinary Soul of Wiesbaden.
Franks (curiously styled without an apostrophe) got really good reviews on OpenTable. I took a look at their Web site and thought it could use an upgrade, but the food appeared to be really nice on the a la carte menu. And since Franks is not open on the weekends, I figured Valentine’s Day on a Thursday night would be a good opportunity to try it. I decided to take a chance.
I believe these roses came from our local Rewe store. I finally got to use the vase I “made” in the Black Forest last year.
Bill came home at about 5:30pm and we had reservations for 7:00. He asked me if I’d seen the menu for Valentine’s Day. I did see that they were offering a four course dinner for 75 euros a person, but I didn’t notice if the a la carte menu would also be available. Also, I didn’t see what was on the menu, because it was hidden on the news section of their rather low tech Web site.
One of the courses had the dreaded Shiitake mushrooms in it. And the main course was lamb, which I don’t really like very much. After presenting me with a lovely bouquet of red roses, Bill called Franks and asked if the mushrooms could be left out of the soup that included them and if there was any way I could have something other than lamb. Fortunately, the chef was able to accommodate our request. He left out the ‘shrooms in my Miso soup and prepared a beef filet for me. Below are pictures from a really fabulous meal!
If you have an electric car and need to charge, you’re in luck! Franks also has a large parking lot with free parking, which is a huge plus in these parts. This restaurant is located in a business park in Erbenheim, not too far from where Bill is now working. It was about a 14 minute drive from our house in Breckenheim.
The menu was posted by the door. You must climb three flights of stairs to get to the restaurant, or take the handy elevator. I dressed casually, in a red sweater and black pants with comfortable shoes, so we took the stairs. The staff at the restaurant had put candles and little heart decorations on the last flight leading to the restaurant.
A very friendly guy greeted us in proper German, took our coats, and led us to our table in the contemporary dining room. 80s and 90s era pop music played on the sound system, but it was turned down low enough that many people wouldn’t notice it. The tables were set far away from each other, which I really liked. There was plenty of space to get in and out of the seats and ample opportunity for privacy, although I wouldn’t necessarily describe the dining room as “romantic”, per se. It looks like the kind of place where businesspeople have lunch.
Strange smirk on Bill’s face. I’m not sure why.
A nicely set table.
We had hot bread and butter, as well as sparkling water. The water was not included in the 75 euro price.
We enjoyed a Bellini as Bill looked at the extensive wine list. The Bellini was part of the menu. It was a nice touch. Bill found a beautiful red from southern France.
We’ll have to have this again. It was delightful.
I counted five couples attending last night’s dinner. One of the couples appeared to be regulars. I noticed an important looking man, perhaps Frank himself, came out to speak to them. It’s a shame more people weren’t enjoying Franks last night. The food was superb.
We started with this amuse– salmon mousse, salmon tartar, quail leg (although the chef didn’t know the word in English, so we’re guessing it was quail), and a cup of bell pepper soup served in the style of a cappuccino. The amuse was delicious and generous. I especially liked the quail and the soup, although the salmon was also good– very fresh and beautifully presented.
Next came the soup course. This included a langoustine (shrimp), snap peas, carrots, Shiitake mushrooms (omitted from mine), sprouts, and what appeared to be a soft boiled quail egg split in two. The chef brought out the soup set up, then poured the peppery miso soup over the shrimp, vegetables and egg from a teapot. The soup was amazing, even without the mushroom. I’d love to have it for the next time I need comfort food.
These are two views of the next course, two perfectly seared sea scallops with fresh pasta and decorated with dried prosciutto. I really enjoyed this course, too. I love scallops and I love pasta, and all of the flavors blended beautifully.
Next, we had our main courses. Mine was a beef filet, while Bill had rack of lamb. The herb encrusted meat was cooked to a perfect pinkness and served with hearty root vegetables. Honestly, this was probably my least favorite of the courses, although that isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy it. It was just the one I enjoyed the least. Everything was excellent.
Then we had our dessert, a little piece of chocolate mousse cake, with a scoop of citrus flavored ice cream, fruit jellies, strawberries, and what looked like a little twig of white chocolate….
And a few chocolates before the bill was served with fortune cookies that turned out to be surprisingly appropriate…
We thanked the chef for making such a delicious meal for us and he said, “Well, that’s my job.” I think we’ll be back. Not only was the food really beautifully prepared, the service was also impeccable and gracious. I’m sure it helped that there weren’t many people dining last night, which is both a surprise and a shame. On the other hand, we managed to have a delightful dinner served by people who were neither stressed nor annoyed by a huge crowd of people.
Our total bill was about 185 euros and it was worth every euro cent. I don’t know how often we’ll get to enjoy Franks, since we don’t often go out to eat during the work week, but we may make a special effort for this place. I want to try their a la carte menu and “smokers bar”, now. What a wonderful Valentine’s Day meal we had!