On Tuesday I took part in the peaceful though lonesome experience of being the only person to dine in a fairly giant restaurant. I quickly realized that this deserted Wirtshaus (a word that translates to "innkeeper's house" but has come to mean a cozy inn-like German restaurant) is not typically a lunch spot. Its grand interior and the biergarten out front seem to beg for a rowdy crowd to inhabit them, and make me wonder why this place is even open during the day. However, it's the only German restaurant I could find near my school, and so I decide it will have to do for my Berlunch.
Though the restaurant seems to be aiming for tradition in its decor, it reads modern and sort of rustic-chic. I won't be able to do any observation of what kind of people eat here, so I'll have to focus on the food, which consists of mostly Southern German cooking.
Here's where I gave Spätzle a second chance, and where I came to understand why it's completely different from pasta. I'd heard it called a sort of dumpling, but my last experience with the dish had me convinced that it was just a poor quality substitute for a noodle. The Spätzle here was house made, and worlds away from the last Spätzle I tried. Though it's kind of hard to explain, it was a lot like a plate of dumplings, with much more "give" and less bite than pasta. It has a lighter and more egg-y consistency, almost like a featherweight version of gnocchi (of course because it's Germany, even the dumplings end up tasting like potatoes). I've since learned that Spätzle is made from just three ingredients: flour, milk and eggs, with a much greater proportion of eggs than exists in pasta. The batter is then pushed through the holes of a colander to give it its signature shape, right into boiling water, where it cooks for only about 2 minutes. The other difference is that this Spätzle dish was pan fried so that some parts were brown and crispy, which gave it a nice crunch. Despite its differences to pasta, Käsespätzle still has the same homey effect of a hot bowl of macaroni and cheese. Maybe that's why Americans who visit Germany rave about it so much. Thanks to Wirtshaus Heuberger's homemade version, I think I finally get it.
Tel: 030-78 95 73 37
Mo-Su 12-24 h