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Hackteufel

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Steingasse 7 69117 Heidelberg

Anytime you see the image of a red little devil on a store front, you can’t help but wonder if it’s some sort of rebel cult establishment or a restaurant specializing in insanely spicy foods.  Surely, the last thing you would think of is a charming, stylish establishment, rich in history and tradition, located in the heart of an old, romantic German city.  But this is exactly what Hackteufel is (Teufel means ‘devil’ in German) – an impressive hotel and restaurant specializing in regional German cuisine.

 

The dining room interior is fascinating, quaint, and captivating.  Musical instruments, including brass trumpets, accordions, and violins, decorate the walls and act as a placeholder between the lanterns.  Ample lighting is provided by the cute light fixtures inside.  There are lots of framed black and white photographs and hand drawn images of stunning landscapes and buildings.  The dining room furniture is charming.  Long booth style seating line the walls and are comfortably cushioned with devilish red pads.  Pillows are arranged at the wall corners.  Carved wooden chairs provide an alternative.  The tables are also polished wood and are set with a folded napkin and silverware.  Potted plants instill life all around the dining room.  While the World Cup is in full swing, German colors are proudly displayed in the form of long party strips and a large flag on the wall.

The menu features a rich variety of German dishes, including regional specialties from the Palatine.  The menu appears to change often, with some dishes making their appearance quite regularly.  Schnitzel, baked fish, Maultaschen, different types of Fladen (flat cakes), Bratwurst, and rump steaks are some of the dishes featured.  A separate drinks menu is heavier than the standard food listing.  A large array of wines from the surrounding Baden and Pfalz region can be found inside the booklet.  Of course, there are also a good number of German beers and other cold and warm beverages.

On one visit, a small basket with pieces of wheat bread is provided free of charge.  It is quite a pleasant surprise.  Complimentary bread at a German restaurant?  That’s a first.  The bread is clearly fresh and very flavorful.  Authentic German bread just adds to the genuine German dining experience.

 

Pfälzer Leberknödelsuppe – liver dumpling soup – is, without a doubt, an excellent starter.  Diners who find liver off-putting or Knödel uninspiring will be surprised by the flavor of Leberknödel.  Despite being called a liver dumpling, the unique flavor of liver isn’t predominantly noticeable in the dumpling.  This is due to the mixture of herbs and pieces of bread roll mixed in during the formation of the dumpling.  In this soup, two Knödel balls are served in a clear, soothing beef broth; sliced green onions adding additional aroma.  Brunoised carrots and turnips can be found at the bottom of the beautiful ceramic bowl.  Although the sweltering soup probably isn’t the best choice on a scorching summer day, it is still an excellent option.

 

The Hessisches Kochkäs-Schnitzel mit Bratkartoffeln is breaded pork escalope topped with melted cheese, served with a good amount of buttery home fried potatoes.  The dish is aromatic and comes to the table on an extremely hot plate.  Presentation is simple, yet lovely.  Every restaurant makes schnitzel differently and Hackteufel is no exception.  The pork is confidently seasoned and very tender.  It is coated extremely well with breadcrumbs.  Fried crisp to perfection, the schnitzel is absolutely marvelous.

The breaded pork is topped with melted cheese and sits in a milky, white cheese sauce that adds such a nice, gooey texture and flavor.  The cheese complements the schnitzel well and enhances the dish wonderfully.  Home fried potatoes are perfectly browned and simply melt in your mouth.  They are the ideal accompaniment to the schnitzel and also taste great with the melted cheese.  This dish is a safe choice if you are unsure about some of the other local options on the menu.

 

Sauerkraut-Orgie (literally Sauerkraut Orgy) is a dish consisting of Teufelswurst (sausage – translated as ‘devil’s sausage’), Pfälzer Saumagen (stuffed pig’s stomach), Krustenbraten (crispy pork belly) and Knödel (dumpling).  Meat juices sit at the bottom of the dish, gradually getting soaked up by the Knödel.  With the different types of pork and sides appearing in the dish, a lot is going on.

Saumagen – a popular item from the Palatinate – is a type of sausage made up of pork, potatoes, carrots, and various herbs and spices, all stuffed inside the stomach.  The saumagen is sliced and pan fried; the result is a delicious regional masterpiece with a seared, crisp edge.  It’s slightly similar to thick ham, but with a distinctive flavor and texture.  Sweet, grilled onions top the saumagen and provide the perfect accompaniment.  The spices really shine here, enhancing the flavor of the pork wonderfully.  The potatoes inside the saumagen create a soft, delicate texture that contrast sharply with the meaty portions.  It is such a unique item with amazing flavor.

A foot long sausage lines the middle of the plate, dividing it in half.  The sausage has a firm casing that gives it a wondrous snap.  It is meaty and slightly salty – the ideal complement to sauerkraut.  Fried crisp like cracklings, the Krustenbraten is marvelous.  It has the perfect portion of fat, meat, and skin.  This piece of pork pairs a lot better with the sauerkraut.  The layer of gelatinous fat under the skin adds richness and flavor.  It is such a guilty pleasure!

The Knödel has a surprisingly nice flavor.  Personally, I am not a big fan of Knödel, but this one caught my eye.  The dumpling is soft and delicate, but there are also a few seeds mixed in that add a distinct consistency.  A crumb topping with sesame seeds is scooped on top, providing another unique twist.  The dumpling soaks up the juices quite well and works admirably with the other elements in the dish.  The final element – the Sauerkraut – is basically good with everything.  Overall, this Sauerkraut-Orgie dish is so filling that, at the end, you won’t be having a sauerkraut orgy; rather, you are bound to have a pork orgy instead!  It’s such a delightfully satisfying dish that is well worth trying.

Although some of the dishes at Hackteufel seem pricey, the quality of the food and the meticulous preparation justifies every cent.  It’s easy to see that the dishes are prepared with utmost care and with a high level of culinary skill.  A visit to Hackteufel, whether for a cool beer, a glass of wine, or a traditional, hearty German meal, will not disappoint.  Tack on the excellent location – just steps away from the old bridge – a nice, cozy dining room environment, as well as a hotel upstairs, and you have everything you need for your stay in Heidelberg right here at Hackteufel.

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Summary:

Hackteufel is a combination hotel and restaurant ideally situated in the heart of Heidelberg.  Located steps away from the infamous Old Bridge, Hackteufel offers excellent traditional German cuisine, as well as local dishes from the Palatinate region (Pfalz).  A genuine experience awaits every visitor.  Service with a smile, warm and welcoming atmosphere.  Outdoor tables available in front of the restaurant.  Prices moderate, but portions and food quality superb.

Hours: Daily: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Leberknödelsuppe – 4.5/5
  • Hessisches Kochkäs-Schnitzel mit Bratkartoffeln – 4.5/5
  • Sauerkraut-Orgie mit Teufelswurst, Pfälzer Saumagen, Krustenbraten und Knödel – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.hackteufel.de/

Written by geschmack

July 13th, 2010 at 8:29 pm