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New German Cuisine?


robyn
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I'm leaving this morning - will arrive tomorrow - and will be there until Saturday (with my computer).  So if anyone has any ideas - I'd love to hear them.  Robyn

Ah ok. If you have any specific requests for Berlin in terms of location, cuisine, or price range, feel free to let ask.

It's very warm here this weekend, by the way. And Monday is a holiday so all the shops will be closed, in case you didn't know.

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Our favorite restaurant right now is a new place in Kreuzberg called Hartmanns.  The food I would definitely describe as modern German, the prices are reasonable, the wine list very nice and focused on German-speaking countries, the people and young chef are very friendly (and speak English), the address is Fichtestraße 31, phone # 030 6120 10 03, reservation recommended.

Hartmann's website

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are in Munich now - and this is a little feedback. Our eating was seriously deranged by jet lag for a few days. And then we got back to normal. In terms of higher end eating - we tried Vau for lunch - and Vitrum for dinner. We enjoyed both a lot - but they are very different. Vau is a solid one star Michelin restaurant. Vitrum - although it is one star in the Michelin Guide - deserves at least two. It's mostly the difference between the refinement in the dishes - the food at Vau is simpler - the food at Vitrum more complex. But at each - both the food and service were excellent - and I can recommend both restaurants highly.

For what it's worth - we chose these 2 restaurants because Vau is the only starred restaurant in Berlin that is not in a hotel - and we were staying at the Ritz Carlton - where Vitrum is located. No reason to try another starred hotel restaurant before you try the one in the hotel where you're staying.

We are now at the MO in Munich. Had a light dinner (excellent) at the hotel restaurant (Mark's) on Saturday - and will be doing a full dinner tomorrow night. Will report back. Robyn

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  • 2 weeks later...
I hope your dinner is at Tantris. This is where New German Cuisine began, and still going strong.

We didn't get to Tantris. We had a full dinner at Mark's - the restaurant in our hotel - the Mandarin Oriental. One Michelin star. Not quite as good as our meals in Berlin - but definitely worth 1 Michelin star. The service was outstanding - like it was throughout the hotel. The MO is a small personal hotel - fewer than 100 rooms. By the time we were there for 12 hours - everyone knew all our likes and dislikes. Second best service we've ever had anywhere (first was Four Seasons in Tokyo).

The other two nights we dined at more modest traditional restaurants. One in the countryside with a friend we met here - another in the heart of Munich. Both offered fine simple food - and excellent beer. And we had great company during our trip to the countryside :smile: .

Then it was on to Cologne. Where we had the highlight dining of our trip. Funny how our trip worked out. Our favorite city was Berlin - the best hotel was in Munich - and the best dining was in Cologne. A perfect trip :smile: .

We stayed at the Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg. I have written up our hotels extensively in the luxury hotels section of Flyer Talk - a more appropriate place to discuss hotels. But bottom line was no matter how grand the Lerbach and Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg seem - they are - at least in my mind - restaurants with rooms. The restaurants are destination restaurants - but the hotels are not destination hotels. You stay at the hotels to dine in the restaurants. And - since both are owned by the same company - Althoff - you can get complimentary car service from one hotel to the other to dine at the restaurants. Both hotels are convenient to Cologne by train - about 25 minutes - but who wants to take a train at 11 pm after a long wonderful meal. So if you dine here - stay at one of the hotels.

Note that both hotels have reasonably priced packages which include rooms and a fixed menu dining experience. We didn't buy these packages - because we wanted flexibility in terms of our dining - but they seem like a decent way to enjoy the restaurants.

Dining at both of these restaurants reminded me why it's important to go to Europe at least once every couple of years. Dining at 3 star restaurants in Europe is usually an exceptional experience - and these restaurants did not disappoint. I am sometimes wary of a restaurant like Dieter Muller - which has had 3 Michelin stars for years - because I know Michelin is slow to take away stars after a restaurant has started to go downhill. But whatever Dieter Muller did to earn his 3 stars back when - he still deserves them. The food is contemporary - the setting is lovely (a greenhouse type place - lots of glass - where - when the windows are open on a spring night - you overlook a beautiful garden). And Joachim Wissler - from Vendome - certainly deserved the 3rd Michelin star he earned a few years ago (note that he was named chef of the year in Germany in 2005).

I am not a taker of pictures in high end restaurants. Doesn't seem right. Not to mention that we were the only non-Germans dining in these restaurants both nights. The patrons were mostly people like us - more or less middle age - except for some guys with younger women - and mostl were content simply to enjoy delicious food (cameras would have been way out of place). Paired with luscious local wines for the most part (80% of all German wine production is white - unless you need a big red - which will most likely be French - the German wines are excellent). And perfect service.

Of the two - my favorite was Dieter Muller - and my husband's was Vendome. But it was close. Perhaps I was influenced by the room at Dieter Muller - and the cheese cart (best I've even seen - even in France). And my husband was influenced by the fabulous parfait of langoustines in Vendome. But then I had the Bresse pigeon at Vendome - and that was wonderful. And my husband had dishes with yummy offal throwaways at Dieter Muller. Anyway - you get the idea. Each is terrific. And eating at both is better :biggrin: .

A Michelin 3 star restaurant is suppoed to be worth a trip - and both of these restaurants were. So if you are anywhere in the neighborhood - go. Cologne has a lot in addition to these restaurants. A grand cathedral (one of the best in Europe) - best collection of pop art I've ever seen (Museum Ludwig) - and the beer my husband enjoyed most in Germany (Kolsch). Cologne is now easy to get to from the US because Continental flies non-stop from Newark.

Small note about the language. A lot of Germans - particularly in high end restaurants and hotels - speak perfect English. So do a lot of business people. But a lot of Germans speak little or no English (do you remember your high school French?). It's nice to learn some before you visit. If nothing else - it's a sign of respect for a country and the people who live there. My husband uses Pimsleur tapes to learn a language when we travel - and they're pretty good for learning the basics. German isn't easy - but he said it was easier than Japanese :smile: . Robyn

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Robyn, if you had to pick one favorite dish from your trip, what would it have been?

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Robyn, if you had to pick one favorite dish from your trip, what would it have been?

Really isn't fair to ask me to compare food at 3 star Michelin restaurants with street food (we had terrific grilled wurst at the Carnival of Cultures in Berlin). But I have to say the parfait of langoustines at Vendome - which was a small part of a larger composition dish (it was my husband's dish - and he knew how much I'd love it so he gave it to me - he's a sweetheart :smile: ).

I have to add that my husband is a beer drinker - and that his favorite beer was the local beer of Cologne - Kolsch.

Overall - our favorite city was Berlin - our favorite hotel was in Munich - and our favorite food was in Cologne. So we have something to remember about every place we visited. Robyn

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Robyn, if you had to pick one favorite dish from your trip, what would it have been?

Per Se :hmmm:

Not sure what you mean by this. Could you explain? Robyn

The New German Cuisine Restaurants:

1. Vendome

2. Amador

3. Aqua

4. Soel'ring Hof

5. Vitrum

6. 44

7. Facil

Deiter Müller is a chef with a world class restaurant, but I would hardley call his food "new".

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Robyn, if you had to pick one favorite dish from your trip, what would it have been?

Per Se :hmmm:

Not sure what you mean by this. Could you explain? Robyn

The New German Cuisine Restaurants:

1. Vendome

2. Amador

3. Aqua

4. Soel'ring Hof

5. Vitrum

6. 44

7. Facil

Deiter Müller is a chef with a world class restaurant, but I would hardley call his food "new".

I didn't find the food at Vitrum and Vendome all that different in terms of style from Dieter Muller's. None is what I'd call cutting edge (no ipods or nitrogen) - but they certainly aren't really old fashioned either. More or less classical with some new twists. FWIW - it's a style of cooking I like a lot. Robyn

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Robyn, if you had to pick one favorite dish from your trip, what would it have been?

Per Se :hmmm:

Not sure what you mean by this. Could you explain? Robyn

The New German Cuisine Restaurants:

1. Vendome

2. Amador

3. Aqua

4. Soel'ring Hof

5. Vitrum

6. 44

7. Facil

Deiter Müller is a chef with a world class restaurant, but I would hardley call his food "new".

I didn't find the food at Vitrum and Vendome all that different in terms of style from Dieter Muller's. None is what I'd call cutting edge (no ipods or nitrogen) - but they certainly aren't really old fashioned either. More or less classical with some new twists. FWIW - it's a style of cooking I like a lot. Robyn

I didn't mean that any of these restaurants are the next El Bulli. The only one where you will find that style is Amador. Also, I didn't mean to downplay who Dieter Müller is, or what he has done for German cuisine. It's just that, he has been there since the early 90's. He is part of an earlier generation of revolutionary German Chefs, along with Herald Wohlfahrt, and Heinz Winkler. He is still very much a star here in Germany, but right now there is a new generation of Chefs coming into play. The restaurants which I listed all have chefs who are leading the way for this generation and are changing German cuisine.

One resturant I did not list, and should is Victor's at Schloss Berg. The Chef there is Christian Bau.

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I realize Dieter Muller is part of an older generation of chefs (he's almost as old as I am :biggrin: ) - but I think his food has kept up with the times - at least in terms of more classically oriented cuisine. I didn't go to his restaurant - and leave saying "boy - this food is so old fashioned - so 80's - compared to what we had at Vitrum" (or what we later had at Vendome).

About the only thing I found to be somewhat old-fashioned (in a good way) was the amazingly impressive cheese cart (you don't see many like that these days). I wish the plumbing at the Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg had kept up with the times as much as Chef Muller's cooking :smile: .

I guess another possibility is that a lot of the food in these higher end restaurants in Germany is somewhat old fashioned compared to what is happening in other countries in Europe. I don't get to Europe very often (last time was London in 2004) - so I really don't have good grounds for comparison. And - since I don't get to eat food of this caliber very often - I'm not bored. I hope to continue to eat meals like this for many years to come. Robyn

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  • 3 months later...

I had a great lunch this summer at Winkler's. I know he's often considered the weakest of German three-stars, and I did not compare. But he has definitely the best restaurant I tried in the Munich area and deserves three-stars, althouhg not for being at the tip of culinary fashion.

His style is very light and simple -- Nouvelle cuisine in the original sense, something between the Loiseau and the Guérard style. This is no discovery, but it is also not quite what you would call "classic", in the sense that it is so light and the flavours are so clear and sharp. The only disappointment was that not all courses are seasonal (porcini and scallops in August) but I guess connaisseurs will just stay away from unseasonal dishes.

Also, the place is simple for a 3* -- it's a big house in the middle of a village, has no fancy cutlery of China, etc. The food is not expensive with a 130€ tasting menu, but wine prices are crazy (Guigal's cote-roties between 600 and 800€) but it is a cuisine that is fine with water. Desserts are just wonderful -- e.g. simple tarts but with textbook plays of flavours, textures and smells.

Pictures and a more detailed review there.

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  • 4 weeks later...
The only disappointment was that not all courses are seasonal (porcini and scallops in August) but I guess connaisseurs will just stay away from unseasonal dishes.

It mustn't be a disappointment to have porcinis in August at Winkler's because season here is from July to September. Might be different elsewhere.

Also, the place is simple for a 3* -- it's a big house in the middle of a village, has no fancy cutlery of China, etc. The food is not expensive with a 130€ tasting menu, but wine prices are crazy (Guigal's cote-roties between 600 and 800€) but it is a cuisine that is fine with water. Desserts are just wonderful -- e.g. simple tarts but with textbook plays of flavours, textures and smells.

I always thought the major reason to visit a 3* house is the food. But that's a personal feeling. Wine prices in German restaurants are high particularly for French wines.

H.B. aka "Legourmet"

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Does anyone happen to know the third star history of Winkler? When he got it in Tantris, for how long, when he got it in Aschau?

As far as I know he got 1981 the first time 3 * and was at that time the youngest 3* chef ever. He left Tantris at 1991 not having lost the 3* in between. In Aschau he earned the 3rd* in 2000 and since then he stayed continiously at the 3* level.

H.B. aka "Legourmet"

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I always thought the major reason to visit a 3* house is the food. But that's a personal feeling. Wine prices in German restaurants are high particularly for French wines.

I agree with you about the food being the most important thing. And I warmly recommend Winkler. I actually found that the unpretentious character of the place was one of its main appeals. In today's landscape, that's sufficiently rare to mention.

As far as wines are concerned, I mantain that Winkler's prices are crazy. Easily twice Tantris', which isn't cheap. By contrast, see Christian Grainer and his wonderful, cheap, wine list, a few kilometers away.

Duly noted for the Porcini -- but there are still some nice ones on the market.

Thanks for the Winkler history details. I wanted to know the detail of the 19 years of 3* he claims -- the only chef outside of France with that many 3* years, he says.

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Seriously, though Porcini july to september? Aren't you confusing with Pfifferlinge? This year the summer was particularly automnal but Porcini season starts at the end of summer, like all mushrooms save girolles/pfiferline/chanterelle, no matter where, when it gets less dry and still warm enough.

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Seriously, though Porcini july to september? Aren't you confusing with Pfifferlinge? This year the summer was particularly automnal but Porcini season starts at the end of summer, like all mushrooms save girolles/pfiferline/chanterelle, no matter where, when it gets less dry and still warm enough.

This year in Germany, the Steinpilze(porcini) season was unusually long. They were available in markets as early as July through the second week of September). Same for the Pfifferlinge season. They first appeared the first week of August, and are still showing up in the markets in good condition.

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There were wonderful Pfifferling in May already. Pfifferling season is not Steinpilze's. I agree that there were early Steinpilze this season, but that dos not change the fact that Steinpilze are lat summer, fall mushrooms and Pfifferlinge are summer mushrooms.

I personally was finding my own Steinpilze in Hinterzagen in mid July, and then again, here, just north of Berlin, last month. July is not late summer, or fall.

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  • 1 month later...

My first visit to this forum. Sad that Germany doesn't have it's own. Perhaps a reflection of something or other.

In any case I was wondering who had read the attached article in today's NYT.

Seems that maybe all is not lost.

Comments?

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Nice article - for a start. Because Lohninger, Raue and Grossfeld might be sort of "prime examples" of different approaches towards a "new german" cuisine. But at least Lohninger and Raue (good as they are!) are kind of "trite" examples, because they are "oh-so-fancy" and always make for a "good story".

Seems like the author took a flight to Frankfurt, then went to Berlin an Munich and just took what was there to be found.

But as I said - nice start. Keep it coming...

Seems that maybe all is not lost.

Could you elaborate on that? I don't understand what you mean.

best

kai

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