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Altes Rasthaus
Kastendiek 3, Bassum

Website: altes-rasthaus.de

You must forgive me, as my recollection as to the precise location of this homey establishment is rather vague. Our German friends were driving, and we arrived here for dinner via several other stops and a rather circuitous route. Be that as it may, if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Bassum, a tiny hamlet just ten miles south of Syke, which is just south of Bremen, the Altes Rasthaus is surely worth a visit.

This 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 reed roof, was erected in 1823.

The interior is appropriately rustic with simple whitewashed walls and timbered ceilings. There are several comfortable dining rooms, but the one to your immediate right as you enter is much preferred, as it is quite small and intimate.

The cuisine, like the décor, is also on the rustic side, but still demonstrates a definitive note of restraint and sophistication. Most entrées, for example, are enhanced with diminutive portions of vegetables invigorated with a variety of difference sauces. As you may have surmised, in keeping with the ambiance, food is escorted to table by an armada of matronly waitresses.

You might begin with a small herb pancake filled with chicken, cooked ham, mushrooms, and tomatoes served au gratin or, perhaps, baked mushroom caps served on a hot baguette. You will also find an appetizing array of soups to tickle your palate.

Entrées feature a number of interesting possibilities. The lemon sole, for instance, is perfectly sautéed and surrounded by a ring of assorted vegetables and accompanied by a side of excellent roasted potatoes. On the vegetarian side, delicious homemade spätzle finds a perfect complement in a serving of sautéed mushrooms with fresh herbs and a roasted pear garnished with fresh cranberries and melted Camembert cheese.

Another winner here is a very nice plate of veal and pork filets embellished with homemade spätzle, sugar snap peas, and baked asparagus tips with hollandaise. And, for something different, you also might try the "Waidmanns Stolz," venison medallions, filet of rabbit, and boar steak in a light cream sauce with chanterelles.

For dessert, nothing beats the traditional Rote Grütze, stewed berries with heavy cream and vanilla ice cream. Hardly diet food but most satisfying.

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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