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Altes Rasthaus
Kastendiek 3, Bassum

Website: altes-rasthaus.de

Whenever we visit our good friends Heike & Rolf Eggers in Syke, Germany, it is inevitable that at least one dinner will be enjoyed at the Altes Rasthaus in nearby Bassum.

The restaurant is an old way station dating from 1783, where those journeying to the Rhineland or France could rest their horses. The current building, replete with a picturesque reed roof, was erected in 1823.

The interior is alluringly rustic, boasting simple whitewashed walls and timbered ceilings. As you enter, the room to the right is small and intimate, displaying a plethora of dark wood and homespun, agrarian artifacts; the room to the left is larger and more modern, exuding an irresistibly soothing contemporary charm.

The cuisine, like the décor, is also on the rustic side – offering seasonal, regional, and wild game specialties – but still demonstrating a definitive note of culinary restraint and sophistication. Most entrées, for example, arrive garnished with artistic armadas of perfectly cooked vegetables invigorated with complementary sauces.

During our various sojourns here, we have sampled such excellent appetizers as a diminutive herb pancake filled with chicken, cooked ham, mushrooms, and tomatoes served au gratin; baked mushroom caps adorning a hot baguette; and a variety of hearty soups.

When it comes to entrées, there are numerous piscatorial possibilities. The lemon sole, perfectly sautéed, is always highly recommendable. Recently sampled was an equally exemplary Royal Dorade, which swam to table surrounded by a ring of assorted vegetables, companioned by a side of first-rate roasted potatoes.

Meaty matters include a presentation of veal and pork filets embellished with homemade spätzle, and baked asparagus tips with hollandaise. During our most recent visit, my wife thoroughly enjoyed a golden brown, prepared-to-perfection veal cordon bleu… In the game department, there is also the top-notch “Waidmanns Stolz,” venison medallions, filet of rabbit, and boar steak in a light cream sauce with chanterelles.

Desserts offer a variety of delicious options; but nothing quite beats the traditional rote grütze, stewed berries embellished with heavy cream and vanilla ice cream. Hardly diet food, but a most satisfying denouement to any meal.

Casual, laid-back, and extraordinarily comfortable, the Altes Rasthaus is always a pleasant dining experience.

The Artful Diner
September 2010

The Artful Diner is an independent, freelance food writer.  His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.

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