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Die Kartoffel

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Kirchenstraße 3 68526 Ladenburg

One of the greatest problems confronting diners at a steakhouse or restaurant is when they order a steak cooked a certain way, but instead receive it overdone and simply not to their liking.  For instance, people oftentimes order their cut of meat cooked medium rare and wind up with a charred slab that’s dark throughout.  The end product is tough and disappointing.  When this happens, it’s easy to place blame on the chef in the kitchen.  Leave a steak on the grill a few seconds too long and you move up a notch on the steak cooking ladder.  But one restaurant in Germany takes all of this into consideration and turns the tables.  At Die Kartoffel, the only person held accountable for an overcooked steak is not the person laboring in the kitchen; it’s the diner who ordered the steak in the first place!

 

Die Kartoffel offers a truly unique, unforgettable dining experience.  Here, steaks are initially served raw, sizzling on a blistering hot stone.  The steaks can be left on the heat to cook for as long as you so desire, according to your own personal preferences, right in front of you.  This freedom is rather unique and innovative and gives diners complete control over their dining experience.  Enjoy rare steaks?  Medium rare the way you like it?  It’s up to you to decide how long you want to cook the meat on the stone.  Hungry and can’t wait?  Slice the meat thinly and sear small portions as you go.

Die Kartoffel’s menu features a good selection of meats served on hot stones – rump steak, filet mignon, lamb filet, deer filet, and shrimp.  A couple of fresh, seasonal salads are also included on the menu.  The meats are the center of attention, but the baked potatoes here are as deserving of the spotlight.  After all, the restaurant’s name literally means ‘The Potato.’  Potato specialties include baked potatoes stuffed with your choice of sauce – sour cream and herb, cocktail cream sauce with green peppers, remoulade sauce, or salmon cream with fresh dill, amongst others.

 

The beverage list is quite extensive and impressive.  Welde beer is the featured type of brew on tap.  Aside from the usual nonalcoholic and hot beverages, guests can find aperitifs and various spirits listed.  As far as the list of wines is concerned, there are various white and red wines from the surrounding region – from Württemberg, Rheinpfalz, and Baden.  There are also French wines and a few types of champagne to complement your meal or celebrate a grand occasion.

 

The dining areas here are separated from one another – the ground floor guest room is for nonsmokers, the cellar downstairs for smokers, and the beer garden outside for all guests during warm, sunny days.  Die Kartoffel has been operating under its current owners since 1998, but the building itself impressively dates back to the 17th century.

This clearly manifests itself in the décor.  Antique artifacts, including an ancient wagon from years passed, hang from the ceilings.  Old-fashioned chandeliers provide sufficient lighting.  Black and white portraits and photographs of childhood memories are affixed to the wooden walls.  Wooden dining tables and chairs match the wooden frames of the interior.  Although the place looks dated and unpretentious, the dining area exudes a warm and inviting feel, complemented by the friendly and graceful staff.

All of the meats on the menu are undoubtedly first-rate.  However, you can never go wrong with filet mignon.  The beef filet is so tender and worth savoring every bite.  Seasoned with black peppercorns on top and sea salt on the stone, the meat is incredible as is.  The accompanying sauces, particularly the garlic remoulade sauce, add so much depth and flavor and complement the meat well.

 

Each meat served on hot stones is served with a baked potato, loaded with a delightful sour cream and herb topping, and a small salad.  The side salad is fresh and clean.  It’s a standard German salad with lettuce, sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, corn, and kidney beans.   Salad dressing is creamy and goes well.

The potato is prepared impeccably; its appetizing flesh is delicate and smooth in texture.  With the sour cream and herb sauce, the side dish shines on its own; along with the filet mignon, it’s a perfect pairing.

Sure enough, potatoes make their way onto the dessert menu.  Two of the three desserts include spuds in them – Kartoffelkuchen and Kartoffeljoker.  The other is a standard on essentially all German restaurant menus – Apple Strudel (Apfelstrudel).  Kartoffeljoker – potato pancake topped with a sweet peach halve, a scoop of gourmet vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and cranberries – works seamlessly.  The warm pancake is crisp and complements the cold vanilla ice cream extremely well.  Once the ice cream begins to melt and the potato absorbs its flavors, this dessert begins to shine.  The peach is syrupy; the softly whipped cream light and airy.  All together, the flavors dance to the beat.  It’s a delight that could easily go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  Who says potatoes can’t be used for dessert?

 

Die Kartoffel is an absolute must for any steak or potato lover.  Heck, it’s a definite must for anyone visiting Heidelberg or Mannheim, or even Baden-Württemberg for that matter.  The cook-it-yourself approach is quite rare in this region and certainly a welcome change to the everyday restaurant experience.  Die Kartoffel creatively brings out the culinarian in every one of us!

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Summary:

Located in the charming little town of Ladenburg, Die Kartoffel (‘The Potato’) is a quaint, rustic German restaurant featuring high quality steaks on heated stones.  Of course, potatoes are also highlighted on the menu.  Boasting a building out of the 17th century, along with a cellar from the 14th century, Die Kartoffel is the place to go for a gratifying meal in a historic restaurant.  Very warm and welcoming service.  Menus offered in various languages.  Lunch menu also featured.  Prices reasonable to moderate.  Dinner reservations highly recommended.

Hours: Monday, Tuesday: 5:00 PMMidnight
            Wednesday – Sunday, Holidays: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM,
                                      5:00 PMMidnight

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Filet Mignon – 5/5
  • Gebakenen Kartoffeln mit Sauerrahm und Kräutern (Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Herbs) – 5/5
  • Kartoffeljoker (Potato Pancake with Vanilla Ice Cream, Peach Halve, Whipped Cream, and Cranberries) – 5/5

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http://www.gasthaus-kartoffel-ladenburg.de/

Written by geschmack

May 28th, 2010 at 9:29 pm