France, restaurant reviews

Reunited with France… and it felt so good to be back! Part six…

Before we came to Sessenheim, I booked dinner in Auberge au Boeuf’s restaurant for Friday and Saturday nights. If I had it to do over again, I would have booked one of those nights for the Stammtisch. Not only does the Stammtisch offer different choices, it’s also considerably less expensive and formal. But this isn’t to say we didn’t enjoy both of our dinners in the one starred Michelin restaurant. In fact, going twice gave us the chance to try a couple of different items, and have repeats of our favorites from the tasting menu we had on Friday night.

I wasn’t going to dress up for the experience on Friday, though I brought two dresses. I changed my mind when Bill decided to put on a jacket. It was a good decision to do that. I noticed that people were dressy at the restaurant– casually elegant attire was the norm. That’s definitely one difference between France and Germany. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to nice German restaurants and people were wearing jeans.

We arrived at the dining room promptly at 7:00pm, which is when service begins. On Friday night, most everyone there, except for us, was speaking German. One family brought their two dogs, who were making adorable grunting noises the whole time. Our waiter was the same young man who checked us in on Wednesday night. He spoke English just as well as he spoke German and French, which was very impressive to me. I used to work in a nice restaurant, and it was all I could do to remember the specials every night. But here he was, seamlessly flitting from table to table, speaking three different languages.

Bill ordered a nice local bottle of Riesling from the sommelier, who was also trilingual. We were invited to use our phones to scan the menu, which was on a QR code on a glass square that was affixed to a metal stand. I guess the QR code is one innovative way of getting around printing menus, which can apparently be vectors of diseases. It probably also makes it much easier to change the menus. No need to print anything. For those who don’t have capable smartphones, a tablet can be borrowed. The menus were in German and French. No luck for us English speakers. 😉

We decided on the tasting menu, which was called “Confession d’un Cuisinier”. Priced at 105 euros per person, this was a seven course tasting menu designed and created by Chef Yannick Germain, whose family also owns the hotel. It was quite adventurous for me, and the waiter was shocked when I told him I don’t eat mushrooms or truffles. Actually, I only had six courses, because one of the courses had mushrooms in it. The course count doesn’t include the extra goodies. I think the waiter might have worried that I would be a picky eater, but I did okay. Below are some photos from our first dinner.

This was definitely a very impressive dinner… although it wasn’t my favorite Michelin starred meal. Bill said he liked it better than the dinner we had at the Schwarzwaldstube at the Traube Tonbach Hotel in Baiersbronn last August. All told, we spent about 300 euros, not including the wine we had during our “afternoon pause”, which we got at the hotel. Was it worth it? I’d say yes, it was. It had been so long since our last night out. Service was excellent, yet unpretentious, and the quality of the food was outstanding. I got to try new things. We didn’t have to drive anywhere. And we did it again the following night. Stay tuned for that post.

Standard
Germany, restaurant reviews

Seeing “stars” in Baiersbronn… Part four

Friday foodie extravaganza continued…

Using a reservation app called The Fork, Bill made 7:00pm reservations at the Michelin one starred restaurant, Restaurant Köhlerstube. This restaurant is one of two at the Traube Tonbach Hotel, located in Baiersbronn. The other Michelin starred restaurant at this hotel is the Schwarzwaldstube, which has THREE stars. That’s as high as the Michelin star system goes. I’m not sure how far in advance one has to plan for a table at the Schwarzwaldstube, but as it has just eight tables and is a very famous restaurant, I’m sure it takes a lot of lead time and perhaps a bit of luck. The Schwarzaldstube is not Germany’s, or even Baiersbronn’s, only three starred restaurant, but it is the venue in Germany that has had the distinction for the longest amount of time, having earned its stars in 1993. It is currently led by Chef Torsten Michel, who took over from long time chef, Harald Wohlfahrt, in 2017. The Köhlerstube, just down the hall, is led by Chef Florian Stolte; it gained its Michelin star in 2019.

The Traube Tonbach Hotel has a long and storied history, beginning in 1789, when Tobias Finkbeiner began the business that would stay in his family until this very day. This hotel has been family run for seven generations, and according to its Web site, is committed to excellent service, luxury, and sustainability.

The Traube Tonbach Hotel is also noteworthy, because on January 5, 2020, there was a devastating fire that destroyed the original Schwarzwaldstube and the former Bauernstube venues. The Bauernstube was special, in that it was the original tavern opened by Tobias Finkbeiner, who aimed to provide sustenance to the lumberjacks who had come to the Black Forest. In 1812, Tobias Finkbeiner was recruited to fight in Napoleon’s Russian campaign, as Württemberg was part of France at the time. Of the twenty-five people who left the Tonbach Valley to fight, Tobias Finkbeiner was the only one to return, and he continued the business and passed it to his descendants.

The hotel is currently in the process of rebuilding the restaurants that were destroyed in the fire. Meanwhile, the Schwarzwaldstube and the Köhlerstube are both operating out of the Temporaire building– basically the top floor of a Parkhaus that has been converted. There’s also a lot of other construction going on at the hotel, which I’m sure will make it a very nice place to stay when it’s finished. As for now, I’m kind of glad we didn’t book our stay there. Parking is in short supply and there’s a bit of a mess due to all of the building being done. We ended up having to park down the hill at the free public lot.

On our way to the restaurant, Bill almost had another accident. The main drag in one of the villages is being repaved, so there’s a temporary stoplight on either end of the construction zone. At the time we were passing through, there was a terrible glare on the stoplight, making it impossible to tell what color the light was. Both Bill and I thought he had a green light. No traffic was oncoming, so we started to make our way through the construction zone. No sooner had Bill said, “I’ve just got to clear this zone as quickly as possible” than we were confronted by oncoming traffic, including a guy on a scooter who blew past us in the opposite direction. Fortunately, there’s a roundabout at the end of the zone, so other drivers could circle back and come through once we were out.

Then, the GPS sent us on a shortcut through a village. The views on the way were beautiful. I would have loved to have gotten some photos. But Bill was so wigged out by the near miss in the construction zone, I missed the opportunity.

Once we got to the hotel, we were confronted by all of the construction and the lack of parking. Bill asked an employee where to go. The guy pointed to the Temporaire, and took off. It didn’t leave a great impression. I was also relieved that I wore comfortable shoes, since we had to walk uphill from the public lot to get to the restaurant. Nevertheless, when we arrived, there were two smartly dressed young men at the door, ready to greet us, check out COVID vaccinations, and take our jackets. And then we joined about two dozen other people who had booked the restaurant that evening.

The staff at the Köhlerstube were all dressed smartly. The ladies wore Dirndls, while the lower ranking men wore traditional dress. The sommelier who took care of us wore a regular suit. Everyone spoke English very well. We had a choice of the regular or vegetarian versions of the menu, along with several side options that could be ordered a la carte or used as a substitute. Below are photos of the menu that was offered on the night of our visit.

There was a variety of people at the restaurant on Friday night. One table hosted a party of people who were celebrating a wedding, including the apparent bride in her gown. There were several couples, a couple of families with children, and a couple of groups of four. The American couple behind us brought their son, who looked to be about three or four years old. I was shocked by how quiet and well-behaved the boy was. He sat quietly and let his parents enjoy their meal with barely a fuss. He had headphones, and at one point, had fallen asleep. At the end of the meal, the wait staff brought him ice cream, which he didn’t seem to enjoy very much. They also brought him housemade chocolates. He chose a cool looking one that was blue, but it was a bit too much for his developing tastebuds and he spit it out in disgust. Bill also chose that one and said it was bitter chocolate. No wonder! I can remember not liking dark chocolate either when I was a child!

Here are some photos from our second foodie experience on Friday. Everything was delicious, although personally, I think I preferred what we had at the Meierei. I did appreciate that the portion sizes were manageable, especially since we weren’t quite recovered from lunch! We did opt to get the wine pairing with the courses, which I noticed a lot of other people were also doing. Each course was beautifully presented and the service was very good, although by the end of the meal, I was getting pretty tired and it took us some effort to flag down our check!

The total cost for this sumptuous meal was 521 euros before the tip. Thank God they take credit cards! Was it worth it? I think so… although this is the kind of meal that really should be done for the experience of it. I prefer more “comfortable” foods myself. But the delicate flavors and unusual combinations made this a very memorable and enjoyable experience for us. I liked the Meierei more, mainly because the service was so kind and personal. But I would absolutely recommend the Köhlerstube, even if the venue did remind me a little of a kindergarten. I hope we can visit again when the hotel has finished rebuilding its permanent locations for their restaurants. And, on another note, the Köhlerstube has now surpassed the now defunct Alte Post in Nagold for the most we have ever spent on a meal!

Standard
Germany, restaurant reviews, wine

Seeing “stars” in Baiersbronn… Part three

Our Friday foodie extravaganza!

Friday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel, which offers a huge buffet with many choices. I won’t go into the breakfast details much, except to say that you can have fresh juices, eggs, sausages, cold cuts, breads, and even Cremant if you want it. I think it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone, although since it’s a buffet, things aren’t necessarily freshly cooked.

After breakfast, I did a little writing for my other blog, then we took a pleasant walk. No, it wasn’t a hike like a lot of the other guests were doing. Baiersbronn and its environs is an excellent venue for hikers and bikers. But we just took a little stroll, and I took more photos…

After a short break, Bill and I continued to make a loop, where we got a beautiful view of Obertal that wasn’t too taxing for us. We passed the Freibad, tennis courts, and the mini golf course, none of which were being used. And I took more pictures, this time with my digital camera.

Once the walk was over, it was time to head to our first of two gourmet restaurants!

The title of this series, “Seeing ‘stars’ in Baiersbronn refers to the fact that Baiersbronn has an impressive collection of restaurants with Michelin stars within it, especially when you consider that this is a town that many people have never heard of in their lives. I think I first heard of Baiersbronn from my German friend, Susanne, who told me about it when we still lived in Jettingen. I searched the Internet and found a fantastic New York Times Magazine article from 2013 about the tiny town with so many stars! The article is behind a paywall, but I happen to be a subscriber to the New York Times. Of course, others have written about Baiersbronn, where, at this writing, there are EIGHT Michelin stars. Two restaurants in Baiersbronn have three Michelin stars, which is as high as it gets. And two have one star.

As our trip was planned with relatively short notice, we were only able to get a table at one of the one star restaurants, as well as an up and coming restaurant which has earned a Michelin “Plate”. The Michelin Plate is kind of like an “honorable mention”. It means the food is very good, and the restaurant could possibly earn a star eventually. Unfortunately, as August is both a month in which many Germans go on vacation and there are also many weddings going on, we had to reserve both restaurants on Friday. I don’t recommend doing this if you can help it. We did it this way because it was the only way we could try the restaurants during the time we had. If there’s a next time we visit, we will try to arrange to try the really great restaurants on different days.

Lunch– Restaurant Meierei at the Gutshof Hotel Waldknechtshof— Michelin Plate recipient

Bill tried to reserve a spot at this restaurant for Saturday, but they had two wedding receptions going on. So we settled for lunch on Friday… and I have to say, of the two haute cuisine places we tried, I liked this one more. Yes, I liked it even more than the Restaurant Köhlerstube, the Michelin one star eatery where we had dinner. I liked the food more, and I liked the service and ambiance much more. Parking is free at the hotel, although the lot is small and has the potential to fill up fast.

When we arrived for our reservation at 1:00pm, we were warmly greeted by a tiny young woman who didn’t speak much English. There was just one other party in the Meierei when we dined, which allowed us to get impeccable service. This location also has a small casual bistro called Bistro Hofscheuer and a Weinkeller, which can be reserved for special events. There’s also a garden terrace for when the weather is good. More people were in the bistro, where a friendly bartender was taking care of a younger crowd.

I really liked the interior of the Meierei, which was decorated with rustic tables and interesting art on the walls. We had a comfortable table to ourselves by a window. As for the menu, patrons can choose from tasting options of 3, 5, or 7 courses. There is also a vegetarian three course option. Bill and I both opted to have the five course Das Genießer Menü, which was priced at 75 euros per person. We could have added a wine pairing for another 49 euros each, but Bill decided to order a bottle of wine instead. He chose a locally produced Landwein, which turned out to be “special”. The sommelier brought it out to us and explained that it was like two bottles of wine in one. First, there was the original pour, which came out clear and crisp. Then, once we finished the first glass, the bottle would be shaken and we’d see that the wine had become cloudy. My German friend reminds me that the Hofflin wine is a Bio-Wein/organic wine from the Kaiserstuhl. That was why Bill chose it.

I loved all of the courses on this menu, which is not an easy feat. You’d never know it to look at me, but I’m actually a picky eater and have quite a few aversions to certain foods. I was actually a little leery of getting this menu, since I don’t usually like lamb. It’s too “gamey” for me. But since the rest of the courses in the Genießer Menü really appealed to me, I decided to throw caution to the wind. I’m so glad I did. My tastebuds were exploding during this meal. It was amazing. I tried and enjoyed foods I usually don’t even like very much!

This meal ran us about 217 euros before the tip. We paid for the meal with a credit card and tipped in “Bar Geld” (cash). It was worth every euro, as far as I’m concerned. Not only was the food delicious, but the service was perfect. I also got the sense that everyone really cared if we enjoyed ourselves. With each course, our server would go to the kitchen and tell them how much we liked it. She also helpfully asked them to give us “pauses”, which was a big help. All of those flavors, especially after a year of no fancy eating, were a bit overwhelming. We also needed some time to digest.

At the end of the meal, the proprietor, who spoke English, came out to talk to us. She said, “You’re not German?” when we spoke English to her. We laughed and explained when she asked us what the hell Americans were doing in her little town. As I mentioned before, I probably would not have ever visited Baiersbronn if I hadn’t lived in Jettingen first! She was very interested in what we thought of the food and, of course, asked me to write a TripAdvisor review. I will do that as soon as I’m finished with this series, because frankly, I think they really could use a good review. If this place were anywhere else but Baiersbronn, I think they’d be ranking higher than they currently do! I hope we can visit again, or at least inspire others to visit.

In the next part, I will write about our experience at the Michelin starred Restaurant Köhlerstube.

Standard
Germany, restaurant reviews, Wiesbaden

Back to Little Italy for a Sunday lunch…

Before COVID times, Bill and I loved to visit Little Italy in Wiesbaden. It was one of the first restaurants we discovered when we moved to Wiesabaden in 2018. We love going there on Sundays and having long, elegant lunches. The pandemic put our habit to an end. I think the last time we managed to visit was in summer 2020. Today, Bill asked if I wanted to go out to lunch, and I was happy to agree. And when we parked in Wiesbaden, we found our way to Little Italy, where we were quickly welcomed and seated indoors. We mentioned our vaccinations, but the waiter didn’t seem to care. He simply pointed out the Luca app for contract tracing purposes.

Today’s lunch was as wonderful as always, coupled with fine service and good wine. Below are some photos.

I really enjoyed my risotto, which was perfect and full of shrimp– four grilled on top, and several mixed in the creamy, lime scented risotto. It was pure comfort food. For once, it wasn’t topped with a bread stick. Bill loved his sliced filet, which was cooked to medium rare perfection. I was surprised to see black olives mixed with the potatoes, but Bill said it was really excellent. And, of course, we paired everything with sparkling water and a glass of Primitivo for him and Montepulciano for me.

While we were dining, I got a private message from a Peace Corps friend of mine. He was was a Volunteer in Russia in the early 1990s, then came to Armenia to work. I met him when he was working for the United Methodist Committee on Relief. I was teaching business English there. I had lost touch with him about a year ago, so I was glad to get his message, especially since just last night, we had a memorial for an Armenia Volunteer who suddenly died a couple of months ago. My old friend is the same age as the guy we memorialized last night.

Other than that, it was another wonderful lunch at a neighborhood favorite. We spent about 89 euros before the tip, and it was money well spent. I doubt we’ll need much of a dinner… but I’ll probably indulge in some wine… to process last night a bit. On the way out of Wiesabaden, I got a few photos…

It’s so nice to see things a bit more normal… I don’t know how long it will last, but we’re going to enjoy it.

In other travel news, I have finally booked us a trip to Zurich. Yes, this will be our first visit there, even though we’ve lived pretty close for years. When we were in Stuttgart, we could have been there in about two hours. I got us four nights, starting July 22. I think we’ll do some specialized touring, to include visits to Carl Jung’s museum, which I know will fascinate Bill. Maybe a stop at the Lindt Chocolate Factory for me… I can’t wait. We’re ready for a change of scenery.

Standard
Germany

Our Heidelberger Birthday Holiday! Part five

As we were planning our weekend away, Bill and I discussed where my birthday dinner should be. I consulted my trusty Open Table app, which I’ve been using for about 19 years… Or, I’ve been using Open Table since 2002. The app hasn’t been around as long. Anyway, it’s helped us find some great restaurants. When we lived in Germany the first time, few places were using it, but now it’s pretty widespread here. I’ve found it especially useful for finding and making reservations at unique, fine dining restaurants.

In Heidelberg, one of the top restaurants on Open Table is Chambao, which is located within eyeshot of the Neckar River, as is its sister restaurant, Chambino. This restaurant’s concept is shared plates– kind of like tapas, but with more of an Asian and African flavor. When we arrived at the restaurant by taxi, the outdoor area was bustling. There was a table open, probably saved for us. We showed the waiter our vaccine certificates and said we were willing to sit inside, which was totally empty. He hadn’t seen the new certificates, as they’re pretty new. But once he saw that they came from the Wallau Apotheke and were in German, he welcomed us inside. Alternatively, those who have had a “Schnell Test” for COVID-19 can also dine indoors.

We sat next to the window to take advantage of the breeze. I looked around at the gorgeous decor– with blue and white tiles, an open kitchen, an impressive bar, and tiled lighting fixtures. From the first minute, we felt right at home, and we proceeded to have an absolutely delightful meal. Below is a photo of the menu offered on Saturday night. Our waiter said it changes weekly.

You can have five or seven dishes at 50 or 70 euros per person, respectively.

Since we were splurging, we went for the seven course deal, and paired with a local Riesling that had just arrived at the restaurant that day. Unlike Friday night’s wine, this one was relatively cheap, but also very good. Below are some photos from our dinner at Chambao.

The first three plates to come out were especially surprising. The first plate from the left in the photo with three selections is a melon tomato salad with basil and mint. It was very refreshing and, in fact, I think it was my favorite. I don’t usually like tomatoes by themselves, but these were cherry tomatoes that were sweet, and they went beautifully with the melon. Then the basil and mint made a refreshing sauce. I could have enjoyed that one all day.

The plate in the middle was tuna tatar (tartare) with green apple and tarragon. It was also refreshing and tasty, although not everyone goes for tatar (raw). I enjoyed it, as well as the third dish, which was a ceviche made with kingfish and shrimp, celery, and calamari with dill.

Next, we had a black tiger prawn with wasabi, mango, and Thai vinaigrette, followed by plate number five, “Fjord” trout with fennel salad, fermented milk and cucumbers. The trout was extremely tender and flavorful, and again, served cool. I was a little worried about the pork belly with plum wine, lemon grass, and green papaya. It turned out to be sinful.

Each plate was more interesting that anything we’ve eaten in the last year. On a couple of occasions, it felt like my tastebuds were exploding. I was very excited by the end, and so appreciative of the wait staff, kitchen workers, and creative chefs who made such a meal happen for us. And the dessert was a great top off. I love cheesecake, and this one was served with mango, coconut milk, and chocolate. It was just the right size. Bill loved his cheeses, which he got to enjoy alone, since I’m not a cheese person. Desserts were ten euros each.

Total damage for this meal was about 210 euros or so… This was more in line with what we usually spend on a really nice meal, and we thought it was worth every penny. I believe the other restaurant, Chambino, serves more casual fare. I wouldn’t mind trying it if we ever get back to Heidelberg and have the opportunity.

Taxi cabs were lined up outside of the restaurant, so we easily found our ride back to the hotel. If it hadn’t been so hot and we hadn’t dressed up, we could have easily enjoyed the walk back.

We stopped by the hotel bar to have a nightcap. The friendly barman was there again, and we chatted with him some more. He was telling us about gins from the Black Forest. He said Monkey 47, which was first made in the Black Forest is no longer made there. But there’s another gin, called Needles, that still comes from there. Bill had a martini made with that. I had a French 1975… and I think we probably need to detox, now.

Although my actual birthday was yesterday, June 20th– Juneteenth (June 19), for which Bill got a day off work Friday– was a great day for celebrating! I would definitely recommend Chambao. I hope we can visit again.

Standard
restaurant reviews

Another delightful Sunday lunch at Little Italy in Wiesbaden…

Bill and I decided not to go anywhere yesterday, since we had some much needed rain. Today, we decided on a low key lunch at Little Italy in Wiesbaden. We’ve been there several times, having discovered it last fall when we were househunting. We’ve never been disappointed any time we’ve visited. The service is always professional and friendly and the food is outstanding. Here are some photos from today’s repast.

Bill looks at what’s being offered…

They always bring the sandwich board with a list of the day’s specials. Today was no different. Our very pleasant waiter thought we were Germans at first, then apologized when he heard us speaking English. We told him we were flattered that he mistook us for locals. It means we’ve done alright blending in. I think it helps not to be really loud, which I’ve noticed Americans tend to be in Europe.

The tree outside was all decorated. I’m not sure what for… but it was pretty, and lots of people stopped by to admire it.

We decided to have specials today, as opposed to the pizza and pasta offered every day. Actually, I don’t think we’ve ever tried the usual stuff in the menu. The specials are always enticing and beautifully presented. We ordered San Pellegrino and a nice white wine from Sicily, and the waiter brought us fresh wheat bread and olive oil with tomato paste and balsamic vinegar.

I went outside my comfort zone and ordered burrata with sliced cherry tomatoes, basil oil, onions, and balsamic vinegar. I usually don’t eat raw tomatoes, but these were so good… red, ripe, and sweet as candy. Bill is also one to shun raw tomatoes, but he eagerly helped me with this dish.
Bill had a mango and avocado tartar, served on a bed on beets and ginger. I liked Bill’s appetizer as much as I did mine. These were both pretty substantial. We probably should have split one, but then I wouldn’t have these beautiful, colorful photos for my blog.
For the main course, I settled on grilled salmon with lemon sauce. The green side dish was very interesting. It was peas and spinach pureed together until it had the consistency of mashed potatoes. I really liked it and would love to have this at home as an alternative to the usual sides. It was a bit rich, though, so I wasn’t able to come close to finishing it.
The waiter recommended the grilled octopus (pulpo) with shrimp and capellini with olive oil, garlic, and vegetables. Bill really enjoyed it. I tried it and noticed the octopus and shrimps were perfect… not overdone and rubbery.
The wine… this went very well with our choices and the waiter was good about keeping our glasses filled.

Finally, after a glorious long lunch, we were ready for dessert. We weren’t offered any specials today, so we went with some favorites…

I went with zabaione with vanilla ice cream. It’s basically warm egg whites with marsala and white wine. Add the ice cream and it goes from being a soupy creation to the ultimate comfort food… rich, thick, and creamy, like custard. It was so delicious!
Bill had the tiramisu. It’s probably the best in Wiesbaden. On our first visit last fall, we reversed our dessert choices. I had tiramisu and Bill had the zabaione.

All told, we spent about 2.5 hours and 125 euros before the tip. Once again, it was a wonderful lunch… and we won’t need to touch dinner tonight, since we are quite full from this lunch. I think Little Italy is becoming like O’steria da Gino’s in Nagold did down near Stuttgart. It’s kind of our go to place, although it’s not as necessary to make reservations there as it is at Gino’s.

What a beautiful way to end the weekend! I should mention that Little Italy has air conditioning, too, which makes sitting inside a pleasure, even when it’s hot outside. Fortunately, the temperature broke yesterday, so it wasn’t so bad. We sat inside anyway and people watched as we talked about the events of the month. Hard to believe July is almost over and we survived unscathed. Knocking on wood, cuz’ there are still three days left.

Standard
Germany, restaurant reviews

We finally visited Cem Klein’s Mediterranean Grill in Sonnenberg…

Last October, when we were searching for a new home in Wiesbaden, we visited the area twice and brought our dogs both times.  During our first visit, we stayed at the Town Hotel in downtown Wiesbaden.  It was very pet friendly, convenient, and close to everything, but staying in a tiny hotel room isn’t so good when you have dogs with you.  The second time we visited, we stayed at GL Suites, which is a group of apartments that are pet friendly in a neighborhood called Rambach.

Although GL Suites gets a lot of negative reviews on TripAdvisor for being outside of the city, we enjoyed our stay there.  We really liked the neighborhood, and it was convenient to have self-catering accommodations.  One other reason we liked GL Suites is that it’s close to several good restaurants.  We managed to try the nearby Italian place, Castello Romano, which was very good.

We also wanted to try Cem Klein’s Mediterranean Grill, but the night we stopped by, they were fully booked.  However, they were very friendly and welcoming and offered to make us a reservation.  Since we hadn’t yet moved to Wiesbaden, we couldn’t make a reservation at that point.  But we did vow to try it eventually.

I had wanted to visit Cem Klein’s last weekend, but they were fully booked with parties.  Bill made us a reservation for last night at 6:30.  We had a fantastic time and it was a great ending to a fun day.  I really needed to have some fun, too.  It’s been a stressful few months.

Here are some photos from last night’s delightful meal.

The approach…  There is street parking near the restaurant, which has indoor and outdoor seating.  The outdoor area has a bar set up that appears to be just for pouring beers and sparkling wines.

We were invited to sit wherever we wanted.  Our waiter was handsome, charming, and spoke perfect English.

We had a round of aperitifs.  I had sparkling wine…

Bill had a Campari with soda.  The soda was served in a carafe on the side, just as he likes it.

The appetizers and main dishes at Cem Klein come in small or large sizes.  I like this concept, since I don’t like to waste food, but I like to have multiple courses.  I can’t eat the way I could when I was a teenager, even if I look like I can.  I appreciated having the choice to get small or large portions.  All of our portions were small, and they were plenty without being too skimpy.  The menu also changes frequently, so there’s plenty of reason to go back again.  They had a small range of dishes, but there was still something for everyone.

Fresh bread

Amuse from the chef… This was a zucchini cappuccino.  Basically, it was a soup made with zucchini and other fresh vegetables and served like a cappuccino.  It was delicious and rather generous.

Outdoor bar area.  I was enjoying the music and kept “Shazaming” to find out who was doing what.  I suspect I’ll be downloading some more tunes today.

A small smoked salmon with mashed potatoes, lime essence, basil, and rosemary sprigs.  The potatoes tasted like they had a touch of sharp cheese in them.  The salmon was very fresh.

Bill had a small goat cheese salad with walnuts, tomatoes, and fresh greens.  

Bill originally ordered a different wine for dinner, but our waiter suggested El Inquilino, a Rioja.  It tasted of pomegranates and had a lovely perfume aroma.  At 29 euros, it wasn’t excessively expensive, either.

I ordered a small entrecote, but I think they may have brought a large.  The small was supposed to be about 125 grams and this appears larger than that.  The beef was from Argentina and was cooked to medium.  It came with Bearnaise sauce, perfectly roasted and salted potatoes, and a small salad.

Bill had a pork stew with raisins, onions, potatoes, and a dash of creme fraiche on top.  It seemed to be Spanish style, and he loved it.  I think he especially liked the raisins, which added a touch of sweetness to contrast with the salt of the olives.

For dessert, Bill had panna cotta with a berry sauce.

I had a large “colonel”… lime sorbet with vodka.