Thursday, June 20th, was my birthday. It was also Corpus Christi, one of the many religious holidays celebrated in parts of Germany at this time of year. And, it was also a work night for Bill, who needs his beauty sleep as much as possible these days. Consequently, we celebrated my birthday last night instead of on my actual birthday.
Ever since we moved to Wiesbaden a few months ago, we’ve heard many great things about its only Michelin starred restaurant, Ente. Actually, the first time I heard of Ente was last fall, when Bill and I had “top flight” cuisine at Stuttgart’s high class airport restaurant, Top Air. That night, we enjoyed the services of a very particular sommelier who fussed over us all evening. He got his training at Ente many years ago. Ente is affiliated with the Nassauer Hof, a beautiful hotel in downtown Wiesbaden.
Ente is the German word for duck, and yes, you can have duck there if you wish. They’ll cook a whole bird for you, complete with heart, liver, and everything else that comes with a living creature before it gets slaughtered. Bill and I like duck, but we weren’t feeling that adventurous about eating organ meats. Besides, Chef Michael Kammermeier, who joined Ente in 2008, had other delights to choose from. There was a menu that featured a dish from each of the chefs, and we had a choice of four to six courses. Ente also has a “bistro”, which looks less formal and expensive and serves French and Italian cuisine. We’ll have to try it sometime.
Originally, we were going to take a cab to and from the restaurant, so Bill could relax and enjoy more wine. But when Bill called for a cab, the closest one was in Frankfurt and would take about thirty-five minutes to get to us. We decided to take our 2006 Toyota RAV 4 for its final spin as a datemobile, as today we’re driving it to Kaiserslautern and trading it in at the Volvo dealership. Next week, we fly to Sweden to pick up our new ride.
Here are some pictures and light commentary about last night’s birthday bash.
As we approached… we ended up entering through the bistro, which caused us to take a quick tour through the interior of both restaurants.
Our reservation was for 7:00pm, but we got there a little early. We were the first ones seated. The weather was absolutely perfect! We had a nice view of the Kurhaus, too, where Elton John recently performed.
A smartly attired young woman was our sommelier. She poured me a glass of vintage rose Champagne. Bill had an expertly prepared Campari with soda.
Next came the welcome amuse– a raspberry gazpacho with olive oil that tasted like raspberry tomatoes… a truffle falafel (which I actually ate), duck liver that tasted like cherries, and… I’m not sure I remember what was in the little bowl. I’m pretty sure it was fish.
Butter with salt and a duck shaped mold of duck “schmalz” to go with…
four kinds of wonderfully fresh bread… Bill liked the duck fat, while I mostly stuck with butter. I did love the duck shaped mold, though. We ordered a lovely bottle of Kessler Riesling from the Rheingau that tasted eerily of a sour apple Jolly Rancher, minus the sweetness. The sommelier was very good about keeping our glasses filled.
I started with the asparagus salad, which had a delightful dollop of sorrel flavored ice cream in the middle. That was a surprise! The asparagus was so beautifully arranged, in perfectly cut green and white stalks. This was a nice beginning.
But I think I liked Bill’s first course even more. It was king fish ceviche with mango salsa and peppers, along with little “chips” on top. It popped with flavor.
Next came the pea ravioli, which was served with coconut foam. The peas were very fresh and sweet. Several were in their pods to go with the three homemade raviolis stuffed with pea puree.
Bill’s next dish was tiger trout, which looked a whole lot like salmon and was served with a beautifully presented medley of vegetables and foam.
We each had a scoop of Champagne flavored sorbet to cleanse the palate…
Then it was time for the main courses. Bill had Loup de Mer, which is basically European sea bass. It was served with deconstructed ratatouille and jus.
I had Spanish dry aged entrecote. Originally, this would have been a tri tip of Waygu beef, but they did not have Waygu beef available. My dish came with a Caesar salad, served on a heart of Romaine with black olives and tomatoes, mashed potatoes, jus, and of course, Bearnaise. Yes, it’s a tiny portion, but remember we were eating four courses. The steak was mostly cooked to medium and, to be honest, I’ve had better beef. I think I liked Bill’s main dish more.
We both had the Strawberry Fields dessert, which was probably my favorite of all of the courses. It was basically like a very thin layer of chocolate cake with cream, crumbles, and very sweet strawberries.
Just before they brought out the bill, we had chocolates and fruit. I had a glass of Chianti with it.
Bill ponders the bill… Glad he brought his credit card.
They brought me a little gift to take home…
A little cake! And look, it has candles, too!
Total damage for this meal was about 359 euros. Bill rounded up to 400 euros. For any Americans reading this who think that was a crappy tip, remember we’re in Germany, where wait staff actually get paid by their employers. They don’t require or expect a 20 percent tip.
Overall, our experience at Ente was a very pleasant meal coupled with excellent service. It was not the BEST I’ve ever had… Actually, I think my favorite restaurant experiences in Germany so far have both been at the now defunct Alte Post in the little Black Forest town of Nagold, of all places. I had the pleasure of dining in their formal dining room twice and left there both times absolutely floored by how wonderful the meals and service were. Unfortunately, Alte Post, and its more casual sister restaurant, Luz Bistro, had to close last fall due to a lack of qualified service personnel. I was sad to see it close, even though we’ve since moved away from the Nagold area. It really was a fantastic restaurant.
I’ve also had meals in Wiesbaden I liked more than what we had at Ente. Martino Kitchen
immediately comes to mind. The presentations at Ente were exquisite and the service was divine, but I guess my selections last night just didn’t thrill me as much as some at other places have. However, I would definitely visit Ente again and try other selections, which very well could shock me like Alte Post did.
A kid doing cartwheels nearby.
A view of the terrace as we were leaving.
Manic looking ad for a dentist who does implants.
Big ass van parked next to us… Look, it’s a Ford! Donald Trump was wrong about Germans not owning American cars. This was a model produced in Europe.
Glad our new car has parking assist. It’s not easy getting out of a parking spot with something this huge blocking one’s view.
The dogs were delighted to see us!
Well, that’s another birthday down the tubes!