Located in a suburb of the city of Münster, this hotel/restaurant is part of the omnipresent Ringhotel chain, so I was a bit dubious at first. However, the location alone is enough to recommend this charming eatery, as it is situated on a cul-de-sac in the middle of a dense forest.
Zur Haskenau 81, Münster
The interior is disappointingly modern, both the cozy bar/lounge and the main dining room . . . but the "chimney room" is wonderfully rustic and boasts an open fireplace, timbered ceiling, and scant six tables. This room must be reserved well in advance, especially on weekends. We only discovered the hotel in the middle of the afternoon, but, because it was a somewhat inhospitable rainy Friday, we managed to snare the primo table in front of the fireplace for that very evening.
Kale, a rather ungainly member of the cabbage family, is rarely seen on menus in America; it is, however, quite popular in Germany, as their chefs are adept at its preparation. And a beguiling appetizer of kale "Westphalian" is surely a delicious case in point. The kale is finely chopped, prepared with diced onions and pungent Westphalian ham, and served with roasted potatoes and chunks of sausage. This is hardly diet food, but it is incredibly tasty, and the allocations quite generous. Even a half portion would undoubtedly be sufficient for those with less hearty appetites.
The ravioli is another highly recommended starter. Two homemade squares of tender noodle dough are filled with creamed celery and set on a bed of diced breast of pheasant enveloped in a rich veal-based sauce.
Entrées are equally up to the mark. Three perfectly grilled dorado (mahi-mahi) filets are arranged on a generous mound of spinach, then crowned with a tiara of straw potatoes. The "3 little medallions of pork" is yet another winner. The medallions are wonderfully moist and tender, not the least bit dry, and are presented with a decadent square of scalloped potatoes and dollop of garlic-herb butter. A very nice mixed salad with sour cream dressing is offered on the side.
A shared dessert was one of the most unusual we encountered, but certainly one of the most memorable . . . Four pitted plums clothed in crispy pastry pockets are presented around an epicenter of homemade poppy seed ice cream in a sugar cookie basket. Exquisite!
The wine of the evening was an excellent 1999 Würzburger Stein from the Franken region.
This proved to be a most rewarding dining experience. Should you find yourself in the Münster area, it is well worth seeking out.
The Artful Diner
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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