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Gaststätte Essighaus (Updated)

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Plöck 97 69117 Heidelberg

After scouring countless restaurants for weeks, looking for one that lists an admired national dish on the menu, and after asking several local residents in Heidelberg, I finally find it back at GaststätteEssighaus.  Surprisingly, sauerbraten, one of Germany’s national dishes, cannot be found in every German restaurant in this touristy city.  As soon as I tasted it, however, the reason for it immediately became apparent.

Sauerbraten is a unique twist to traditional style pot roast – it consists of beef (rump steak) marinated for days in a mixture of vinegar, spices, and seasonings.  Sauerbraten is, for some people, an acquired taste.  Those accustomed to pot roast may have a difficult time adjusting to the nice hint of sourness in this dish.  The tanginess is by no means overwhelming, but it is present in every part of the meat.  This sensory experience can be repulsive at first, but eventually grows on you with each and every bite.

 

The Sauerbraten meal at Essighaus, priced at 10,50 €, is served with the soup of the day (Tagessuppe), a side salad, and homemade Spätzle.  On this day, the featured soup is noodle soup.  As before, the warm soup is individually poured by the server from a medium sized container into your bowl.  The bite sized strings of noodle are soft, but the flavor is pretty standard.  Again, the salad is served with an appetizing herb cream sauce that is slightly reminiscent of pesto.  The carrots, cabbage, kraut, and lettuce are all fresh and enjoyable.

 

Three slices of slow cooked beef is anchored in a generous amount of tasty, home-style brown gravy sauce.  Garnished on top of the meat is chopped parsley; on the side is a leaf of lettuce with sliced radishes gingerly sleeping aboard.  The flavorful gravy sauce clearly intensifies the flavor of the dish.  Eating a piece of tender, succulent beef with the sauce creates a balance of sour and salty.  Unfortunately, the texture of the beef is not consistent throughout – some parts are tough and chewy, while other portions of the meat simply melt in your mouth.  In spite of this, the meal tastes delicious once you get used to the flavor of the beef.

Traditionally served with Sauerbraten is a German egg noodle side dish known as Spätzle.  The noodles have a soft, delicate texture that goes well with the juicy, succulent meat.  Alone, the noodles taste bland (this is not Käsespätzle, which would be noodles with cheese).  Adding a little salt or dipping the Spätzle in the gravy sauce gives the noodles flavor.  The combination of the Sauerbraten and Spätzle works really well together.

Gaststätte Essighaus is an ideal place to escape Heidelberg’s Hauptstraße and enjoy a delicious, hearty meal.  With generous portions, a pleasant staff, traditional meals, and deliciously cooked food, Essighaus is one of the best overall German restaurants in Heidelberg.

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Summary:

Located on a street parallel to the busy Heidelberg Hauptstraße, Gaststätte Essighaus is a quaint, quiet restaurant serving up authentic German dishes including schnitzel, steaks, and fish dishes, amongst others.   Great, quick service.  Inexpensive, hefty portions.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Noodle Soup – 4/5
  • Salad – 4/5
  • Sauerbraten – 4/5
  • Spätzle – 4/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

March 3rd, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Gaststätte Essighaus

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Plöck 97 69117 Heidelberg

Tired of the expensive restaurants on the Hauptstraße that cater to tourists?  Want good German cuisine that’s easy on the pocket?  Well, Gaststätte Essighaus is the perfect place for a warm, delicious, traditional German meal or a cold, refreshing beer in a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere.

 

The restaurant itself is inviting and welcoming.  Inside, the layout is entirely open and calls out to you to take a seat.  From the entrance, you can see the bar on the side overlooking the 8 tables scattered throughout the place.  Seating is made up of either dark wooden chairs or cushioned booth type seating along the outer rim of the restaurant.  Any seat is good in this open layout.  Each table is neatly covered with a faded red tablecloth.  Décor is lackluster, only consisting of a few colorful, old-fashioned plates and cups sitting on shelves, plants in vases, and several artwork pieces made formed from tiles on the walls.  The bar area is a lot more interesting to stare at with all of the different bottles of wine, liquors, and spirits neatly aligned on top of a wooden cabinet.  At dinnertime, the restaurant is extremely well-lit by chandeliers – it’s puzzling why there are lighted candles at each table.

As far as food is concerned, Essighaus offers several traditional German dishes.  Some typical plates are missing from the menu, though what the chefs do serve up are downright delicious.  The schnitzel here is really good.  Order the 8,50 € breaded pork schnitzel (Schweineschnitzel) and you will be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the meat.  On top of that, the order comes with a bowl of the daily soup (Tagesuppe), in addition to a plate of salad and a side of French Fries.

 

The tomato soup is thick and served hot – a great start on a cold, winter night.  In addition to some pieces of tomato in the soup, there are bits of bacon hiding under the sea of red.  Chopped parsley also adds an extra hint of flavor.  Salad at Essighaus is unique.  Pieces of lettuce, shredded carrots, sauerkraut, and red cabbage, thinly sliced radish and cucumber, and a chunk of tomato are enhanced by a creamy green herb dressing.  The mixture of textures, from the crunchy vegetables to the smooth, creamy dressing and the soft burst of the tomato is wonderful.

 

The main dish – the schnitzel – comes on a plate with a boat full of dark brown pork gravy and some more lettuce and sliced radish on the side.  The potatoes come on a separate plate, hot, crisp, and slightly seasoned, what more can you ask for?  Pork schnitzel, breaded and seasoned extremely well, is as big as the plate of salad.  The meat is pounded quite thin and cooked until tender.  Delicious as is, the schnitzel tastes even better with a squeeze of lemon or a dip in the gravy.  Either way, the dish is extremely tasty and one of the better schnitzel plates in Heidelberg, if not in Germany.

Come hungry, otherwise you might not have room for dessert.  The sweets menu primarily consists of ice cream, but there is also Pfannkuchen mit Marmelade oder Apfelmus (German pancake with either marmalade or apple sauce).  At 4,50 euros, it’s a bit overpriced for what you get – two pancakes and a boat full of cranberry-like sauce (lingonberry marmalade).  The pancakes are delicate and soft in the middle, crisp and crunchy on the edges.  By itself, it tastes rather bland; with the sauce, it tastes sweeter but not life changing.  Sadly, the last few bites became more of a chore to eat than an enjoyable end to the meal.

 

Simply put, Essighaus is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of the crowded main street in Heidelberg.  Although the menu is limited to a certain extent, the food listed is done extremely well.

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Summary:

Located on a street parallel to the busy Heidelberg Hauptstraße, Gaststätte Essighaus is a quaint, quiet restaurant serving up authentic German dishes including schnitzel, steaks, and fish dishes, amongst others.   Great, quick service.  Inexpensive  main dishes.

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Tomato Soup – 4/5
  • Salad – 4/5
  • Pork Schnitzel (Schweineschnitzel) – 5/5
  • French Fries – 4.5/5
  • Pfannkuchen mit Marmelade – 3/5
  • Service – 5/5

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Written by geschmack

January 29th, 2010 at 10:01 pm