2001 James Beard Award Nominee


Restaurant Reviews

Artful Weblog

Artful Weblog

Jersey Shore


Dining Articles

The Artful Diner Artful Diner logo
Black bar
Check out northern Germany reviews......
More German Restaurant Reviews

Undiscovered Gems

Eateries Not Found in Guidebooks

MARKGRAF, Fischergrube 18, Lubeck
The building that houses this likeable restaurant dates from the fourteenth century. And, although it has been in existence five years - two at its current location - it is conspicuously absent from any of the usual guidebook propaganda.

The interior is a narrow space, sporting unfinished earth-tone stone walls replete with wood beams and timbered ceiling. Four chandeliers and votive candles illuminate the cozy, romantic space. There is even a tiny balcony with several tables overlooking the main floor.

You begin with an exquisite amuse-bouche, a diminutive diced beef salad enlivened with basil crème fraîche and dotted with diced red, green, and yellow peppers.

Appetizers include a lovely filet of sea bass presented on a bed of fresh greens garnished with a scrumptious potato salad. Tagliatelle (long, thin, flat noodles) are tossed with truffles and fresh vegetables and finished in a wonderfully complex tomato cream sauce.

Entrées on this particular evening concentrated on strictly carnivorous pursuits. Thick, sumptuous slices of venison are presented on a bed of delicious red cabbage. A host of fresh vegetables are artistically arranged about the periphery, with ethereal dumplings of spaetzle served on the side. The filet of veal arrives at table basking in a spätburgunder (pinot noir) sauce garnished with fresh vegetables and diminutive roasted potatoes. This is the type of veal dish that only seems to be available in Germany. It is, in reality, a filet mignon of veal, tender, succulent, and simply bursting with flavor.

A sampling of the restaurant's superb desserts is a most suitable closure to your meal. Here you may indulge in such delicacies as a pumpernickel parfait with cherries, mille-feuille with mascarpone, apple strudel, and assorted sliced fruits with fresh whipped cream.

The wine of choice was a velvety Mayer-Näkel Spätburgunder (pinot noir grape) from the Ahr region of Germany.

MarkGraf is a wonderfully satisfying dining experience. I recommend it highly.

AUBERGINE, Markstrasse 4, Goslar
Since German friends, Malte and Regina, were driving quite a distance from Cologne to meet us on this particular evening, for convenience sake, we had just planned to dine at our hotel... But when we discovered this charming restaurant just around the corner from the main market square quite by accident, we were immediately captivated by its obvious charms.

Indeed, the moment you pass this diminutive eatery, especially after dark, you are immediately intrigued, and you simply must venture inside. The large front window is filled with candles; beyond this, you find a profusion of real greenery, a stone wall with trickling water highlighted by track lighting, and a beautifully mirrored black lacquered service bar at the rear. The comfortable chairs are also black lacquered wood set off by pink floral-patterned cushions. Each table is adorned with a whole lemon floating in a small crystal bowl. The ambiance is completely modern, yet enticingly warm and sophisticated...

As is the wonderful Italian/French/Turkish cuisine. You begin with an addictive sesame-dotted house-made bread that is similar to pita but infinitely more delicate and then move on to an array of exotic appetizers.

Diminutive pockets of spinach are wrapped in flaky phyllo and arranged around an epicenter of yogurt, garlic, and cucumber. Portions of tender eggplant in a tomato-garlic sauce are topped with yogurt and a sprinkling of Italian parsley. Tagliatelle tossed with sautéed mixed mushrooms arrives in a delicate white wine sauce imbued with just a touch of cream. Morsels of pizza dough are topped with ground lamb and beef in garlic, tomato, and olive oil and are embellished with yogurt, garlic, and cucumber. All are utterly superb.

Entrées are equally exciting... A pristine filet of perch-pike is arranged on a seabed of sautéed spinach and surrounded by a sea of white wine sauce. Marinated strips of lamb filet are grilled with garlic and rosemary and presented with mixed mushrooms, spinach sauté, and two miniature rösti potatoes. Tender, moist veal medallions are crowned with Gruyere cheese, embellished with a Gorgonzola white wine sauce, and accompanied by broccoli florets and perfectly browned potato croquettes. Grilled marinated strips of lamb are presented with strips of perfectly cooked zucchini and eggplant and accompanied by a decadent gratinée of potatoes.

Desserts include a lovely and rich tiramisù, roasted pear with cinnamon ice cream, and a classic crème brûlée.

We enjoyed our dining experience here with our German friends to such an extent that my wife and I returned by ourselves on the following evening. The wines chosen on those occasions were a crisp, refreshing 2000 Gavi di Gavi "Blue" from Franco Piarone and a velvety 2000 Pater Sangiovese from Marchesi De' Fresco Baldi.

Although operating for over nine years, Aubergine is virtually unknown to American diners. Should you elect to visit the charming medieval hamlet of Goslar, this exceptional eatery should be absolutely tops on your culinary agenda.

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.

E-mail Artful Diner!
Black bar
München Münster Bergisch-Gladbach Lübeck