In the interest of reviewing some of the other German restaurants in town, the hubby and I made reservations at Cafe Berlin. We had been in once before and the 45 minute wait had convinced us that this was a restaurant where reservations were necessary.
We were seated quickly upon our arrival and, to my great surprise, our waiter recognized us despite our last visit having been a good five months prior. We were seating at a small table for two, tucked into the corner of the restaurant. This had the benefit of being very cozy and the downside of being very awkward. The edges of the room are lined with bench seating, so both the hubby and I were seated on a different section of the bench, which lead to a few accidental foot stompings as there just wasn't enough room under the table. I also found that the bench was too far away from the table for me to be truly comfortable until I discovered some small pillows and used them for lumbar support.
Our waiter was extremely patient with our leisurely pace and brought up drinks and bread while we decided. Ultimately, we opted for a Berlin's Tour of Cheese Appetizer to split, a Chicken Berlin for the hubby with potatoes au gratin, and a Roquefort Chicken with pan fried potatoes and brie macaroni and cheese on the side for me. Upon handing our menus over, we sampled the bread basket.
The bread was spongy, light, and served very warm. The rye had a light rye flavor but the wheat was pretty much tasteless.
Our appetizer plate showed up promptly, much to our delight.
Cheese and crackers are something that the hubby and I rely on as a quick, easy, dinner at home on nights when were are just too beat to cook. Perhaps because of that, I have very high standards for cheese plates at restaurants. The one served at Cafe Berlin was serviceable but not much else. A medium cheddar, artificially smoked muenster, and creamy brie were safe choices and are easily found in the local grocery stores. The Jarlsberg was a bit more uncommon, creamy and flavorful. The final selection seemed to be a blind Swiss cheese, though it was smoother in texture than your average Swiss cheese. The cheese was accompanied by crunchy water crackers, juicy grapes, and a few slices of a mediocre green apple.
The arrival of our entrees was nicely timed and I happily dug into my meal (shown at the top of the post). The pan fried potatoes were slightly crispy and lightly salted. The included onions were crisp with a strong flavor and the dish stayed well out of greasy territory. I had high hopes for the Brie macaroni and cheese but unfortunately, it was better in concept than execution. While the sauce was creamy, it was thin and lacked the satisfying fullness of a good cheese sauce.
The Roquefort chicken is a dish of breaded chicken filled with cheese. The breading was expertly done--light, nicely crispy, and well adhered--however the filling was shockingly salty, strong enough to disguise any of the constituent flavors. The chicken itself was bland and pliable, but it did serve to balance the extreme salt of the filling.
The hubby's Chicken Berlin and potatoes gratin plate was notable only in that it was rather unremarkable. Nothing terrible, but nothing that he found especially noteworthy.
We finished our meal by ordering a slice of cake to go which we ate the next day.
The cake had a light, dry crumb which was much the same as every other chocolate cake. However, the layers of marzipan and subtle apricot flavoring in the frosting layers separating the cake was beautifully done. The flavors were light, sweet and delicious. The thick layer of chocolate topping the slice was an excellent touch and lent some weight to the dessert.
I was impressed with the attentive service but left disappointed by the unremarkable food. Comparing to our last visit, it seemed that both the prices and quality had been lowered. This is not a restaurant that will make it into our regular rotations.
Total for the meal: $53.68 (Included one appetizer, two soft drinks, two entrees, and dessert.)
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