The last time we were in the area of Marienplatz we passed Goldener Adler and had a peek at the menu posted outside. We'd never heard of the restaurant before, but the appetizer special with a chorizo-saffron risotto looked delicious. And so when Valentine's Day came around last weekend, we scrolled through out list to see what looked good, and Goldener Adler won. (Note that we ate on Friday night -- really, Valentine's Day was just an excuse, and since they were booked for the actual day, we happily went with the day before.)
We (almost) promptly arrived for our reservation at 7:30 pm, by which time the restaurant was packed. I didn't get a picture of the inside, but it was nice -- old-world style elegance, but somewhere between German pub and hip-modern. The atmosphere was somewhat laid back, and I noticed a mix of businessmen after work, families with kids, and young couples like us. The restaurant was also happy to accommodate Leo, which I always appreciate (as did the toddler who kept making eyes at him, I'm sure).
Upon taking our seats, we were presented with menus by one of our three waiters over the course of the night. We decided to go all out this evening, it being (almost) Valentine's Day and all. The menu was mostly German, but there was a good International influence, as well. Sadly, the chorizo-saffron risotto that enticed us was no longer on the menu, however, the fact that their menu rotates so often based on their weekly specials was rather nice. I actually had a really hard time choosing my food, as everything looked so delicious.
I decided to begin my meal with a glass of the 2013 Cannstatter Zuckerle Muskateller from a local winery. Contrary to my expectations, the wine was more crisp than sweet, making it a light start to my meal. Matt decided to try the French beer Loirette from Brasserie de la Pigeonelle. The natural, unfiltered beer was certainly different from the traditional German pils that's so common around here, but didn't have as much flavor as he was hoping for. Oh well.
To start, we decided to share the beef tartare with a lightly dressed salad and fresh bread. It was easily the best tartare that I've had in Germany, with a very light spice to the mix and a delicious, cornichon on the side. It was just as good as the tartare that I enjoyed on our recent trip to Paris.
Before our meals came, I switched to a glass of the 2011 Lemberger from the Kistenmacher-Hengerer winery in Heilbronn. I've recently come to appreciate Lemberger as one of the few German varietals of red grape that I find sufficiently deep enough to enjoy. Of course the wine was still light, but it was close to a pinot noir, making it a good pairing for my entrée.
After much deliberation, I finally decided to try the Cornish hen in a Port wine sauce with truffled spinach and pappardelle. I don't often order chicken in restaurants because I eat it so often at home, but it's one of those dishes that I feel if a restaurant can make well, you know it's good. And this one was good. The chicken had the perfect balance of juicy meat, a thin layer of fat, and a crispy outer skin that was coated, but not drenched, in the Port wine sauce. The pappardelle was clearly homemade and cooked to a perfect al dente. But the spinach stole the show. I've never had truffled spinach, though I know how easy it is to overdo truffle oil from my own cooking adventures, and -- perhaps no surprise here -- the chef had the ratio down perfectly. There was no bitterness to the spinach, which allowed for a nice, subtle pairing of the truffle oil. Yes, the meal constituted three combinations that I would never have thought to put together, and yes, it was a lot going on on the plate, but it all worked together splendidly.
Matt had similar feelings about his Zwiebelrostbraten mit Spätzle (beefsteak with caramelized onions in a dark sauce with thin Swäbisch dumplings), which I barely got a bite of before he ate it all. I love a good Zwiebelrostbraten, and this one surprised me by how tender and perfectly cooked the meat was for the price.
Even though we were both full, we knew we couldn't pass up dessert on our (almost) Valentine's Day dinner. We both finished up the meal with a glass of the 2010 Château Haut Bergeron Sauterne from France and an order of the Tonkabohnen Crème Brûlée. Now I admit that I had to look up tonka beans, and as it turns out, they are native to central and northern South America and often used as a vanilla substitute in French cuisine (though it can be fatal in large doses -- crazy!). The crème brûlée really just tasted like vanilla to me. It was perfectly smooth and creamy, and came with a light nougat ice cream and a red, tropical fruit that I've never had before. I thought the menu said Tamarind, but that certainly can't be right, and I hesitate to say it was a red guava. Either way, it was altogether, again, an odd combination, but it worked well.
Our meal was, overall, absolutely delicious. The service was attentive, and the waiters even offered us more drinks when our glasses were empty, which I consider to be more of the American-style of service. Though the prices were a bit above our usual weeknight budget, we paid exactly what I would expect for a meal of such good quality. I certainly want to return and try more specials from their menu in the near future.
Goldener Adler is located on Böheimstraße 38 near Marienplatz in Stuttgart. They are open daily from 5:30 pm until about 11:00 pm. You can easily make reservations online on their website, and though we didn't ask for a menu in English, I've read some reviews that say the staff is willing to explain the menu in English upon request. Do try them for a special date night out or for an above-average German meal the next time you have a craving for it.