I recently had the pleasure of meeting Cathrin and Semih from Stuttgart isst at one of my favorite festivals in Stuttgart, the Bohnenviertelfest. While enjoying a few drinks, we got to talking about the many great restaurants in the area. Through the course of our conversation, I realized that we'd spent much of our time looking for good Vietnamese, Italian, and Japanese food, but that we'd somehow ignored some of the better German restaurants in the "bean quarter" that Cathrin recommended.
This week I decided to rectify the situation by going out for dinner at Weinstube zur Kiste. Located on a small side street at the edge of the Bohnenviertel, Weinstube zur Kiste has been around for over 180 years, first as an inn, then later as an alehouse, and finally as the restaurant that it is today. The narrow rooms, wood-paneled walls, winding staircase, and green, glazed-tile fireplace all exude tradition and comfort. There's even a small hand-cranked wooden dumbwaiter to bring food from the kitchen to the dining room!
When we arrived, the small dining area downstairs was already packed, so we decided to sit outside on one of their lovely covered patio tables and enjoy the summer weather. Despite being outside, the service was excellent; two different waitresses checked on us frequently, and they were quick to bring Leo some water after we sat down.
The primary draw here is the Swabian food and wine. And though I've rarely been impressed by the regional reds, I decided to give the Grantschener Wildenberg Lemberger a chance as I have found some decent Lembergers here. Much to my expectation, the red was light, like a pinot noir, but had a sufficient body to satisfy my tastes.
For dinner, I'd already had my heart set on trying the Rostbraten mit Röstkartoffeln (roast beef with pan-fried potatoes) after Cathrin's recommendation. The meal was first served with a typical German side salad topped with cabbage slaw and carrot slaw, and tossed in Kiste's homemade vinaigrette. (Unlike in the States where you get to choose your salad dressing, the salads in Germany are served by default with the restaurant's own vinaigrette.)
The Rostbraten came out second, and made for a very impressive sight. The thick cut of beef was lightly charred on the outside and piled high with deliciously caramelized onions. To the side sat a stack of thinly sliced, golden, pan-fried potatoes. The meat was very tender and cooked to a perfect medium to medium-rare. The only sauce on the plate was the meat's juices, which I found satisfying, though my husband commented that a sauce on the side might have been nice.
Technically my husband ordered the Rostbraten to allow me to try more on the menu for my blog, as he so often lovingly does, and so my meal was actually the Ochsenbrust mit Röstkartoffeln, Preiselbeeren, Gürkle und Meerrettich (beef brisket with pan-fried potatoes, cranberries, pickle, and horseradish). Ochsenbrust is not a cut of meat that I usually get; I've come to associate it with dry American pot roasts and overcooked cuts of meat, which are not my favorite. However, since moving to Stuttgart we've had delicious Ochsenbrust sandwiches at the local festivals, and so I decided to give the dish a shot. The meat was certainly cooked through, but it was satisfyingly juicy and fork-tender. And although in the end I preferred the Rostbraten as a cut of meat, I enjoyed the flavor combination of sweet cranberry, tart pickle, and hot horseradish with the Ochsenbrust.
To sum up, it's nice to find a local restaurant that does traditional Swabian food in the way I imagine Swabian grandmothers cooking for their families. Weinstube zur Kiste has several other traditional items, like Maultaschen (filled pasta), Fleischküchle (meatballs), Käsespätzle (cheesey noodles), Schnitzel (breaded pork cutlets), and Gaisburger Marsch (beef stew), a specialty particular to Stuttgart that I look forward to returning to try.
Weinstube zur Kiste is located just a few steps from the Charlottenplatz U-Bahn station on Kanalstraße. You should be able to clearly identify the bright red row-home next to the Persian Restaurant and QQ Sushi. They are open Monday through Friday from 17:00 until 24:00 and on Saturdays from 11:30 until 24:00. Note that they are closed on Sundays and holidays, including the traditional summer holiday next week.