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Schnitzelbank

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Bauamtsgasse 7 69117 Heidelberg

It’s Friday night and the Christmas events are in full swing in Germany.  Luckily, if you feel the need to escape the noise and stress of the holiday season, you can escape to a quiet, pleasant restaurant off the main street in Heidelberg.

 

Being inside the Schnitzelbank restaurant, you get an eerie feeling as if you are sitting in a secret underground hideout dating back to historic times.  Vintage photographs and drawings adorn the walls around.  The aged, wooden tables are so worn out from countless uses that you can only wonder which famous historic figures have set foot here.  People’s names, initials, and lover’s heart shapes from years past are deeply engraved into the benches (hence the name ‘Schnitzelbank’: Schnitzel meaning carve and bank meaning bench).  Even the method of transferring food from the kitchen to the dining area is old-fashioned – there is a dumbwaiter used to convey dishes from the bottom floor to the ground level.  It’s certainly a unique dining experience here.

The menu is elegantly presented in a large, brown folder.  There are numerous dishes to choose, including traditional favorites and regional fare.  A wide variety of wines are also available.

 

Order the 13,90 € Schnitzel “Art des Hauses” (House Special Schnitzel) and you get a fresh salad, home-made Spätzle, and two pieces of fine pork cutlets.  Instead of Spätzle, it is possible to request fried potatoes (Bratkartoffeln).

First, the accompanying salad – large whole leaves of red leaf lettuce, shredded carrots, chopped red cabbage, a slice of cucumber, and a tomato wedge – comes completely drenched in a salty vinaigrette.  Not what I was expecting.  Although all of the ingredients are fresh, the dressing utterly annihilates the natural flavor of the individual components.  One bite and I find myself reaching for my drink.

 

This aggressiveness continues on in the main dish.  The schnitzel is consumed by mounds of sliced button mushrooms and dark, aromatic cream sauce.  When the plate comes to the table, you are left searching for the meat.  Also unexpected is the lack of breadcrumbs on the schnitzel.  With the intense flavor of the cream sauce, however, it makes sense that the pork isn’t breaded.  The meat is cooked well and seasoned properly, although it can be a chore to cut through at times.  The mushrooms add a flavor and texture to the dish that complements the schnitzel rather well.  Overall, however, the dish lacks focus.  Piling on the mushrooms isn’t exactly a good thing.  You will be left wondering, “Am I eating mushrooms with schnitzel or schnitzel with mushrooms?”

One bright spot is the fried potatoes.  They are buttery and crisp, browned to perfection.  There are also hints of grilled onions mixed in with the spuds, providing an added sweetness.  These potatoes are absolutely delicious and worth the substitution!

As a wine bar that boasts having a lot of history, Schnitzelbank could do better.  As a restaurant, it still has lots of room for improvement.  For now, it would be best to leave the schnitzel in the bank and invest elsewhere.

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Summary:

Schnitzelbank is a historic German wine bar and restaurant serving up regional and national dishes in a cozy, old fashioned environment.  Generous portion sizes.

Hours: Monday – Friday 5:00 PM – 1 AM
            Saturday – Sunday 11:30 AM – 1 AM

Overall – 3 stars

  • Salad – 2/5
  • Schnitzel “Art des Hauses” – 3/5
  • Bratkartoffeln (Pan-Fried Potatoes ) – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

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http://www.schnitzelbank-heidelberg.de

Written by geschmack

November 27th, 2009 at 9:12 pm