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Palais Keller
Hotel Bayerischer Hof
Promenadeplatz 2, Munich

The Palais Keller is a bustling, cavernous affair that is not easily discovered among the myriad labyrinthine passageways hidden away beneath the stylish Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Once stumbled upon, however, it becomes immediately apparent that this is clearly an establishment that caters to the tourist trade. The restaurant strikes one as the quintessential Hollywood version of a rustic German eatery: The motherly waitresses, appropriately adorned, all speak English; and, should your accent slip, you are handed a menu that explicates the kitchen's traditional offerings in English, French, and Italian.

The major drawing card here is the fact that, although the Palais Keller resides at one of Munich's ritziest addresses, the food is moderately priced. In other words, it is designed to appeal to the typical tourist who relishes the opportunity of hob-knobbing it with the rich and shameless at prices that won't break the bank.

Moderately priced the cuisine may be. However, in my opinion, you may dine infinitely better elsewhere  and, in many cases, at comparable tariffs. I'm not saying the food is beneath contempt, but it certainly does not measure up to the hype and hoopla bestowed by various misinformed guidebooks.

The beef consommé (3,90€), for example, is exceedingly salty... and the goulash soup (5,60€), one of my favorite German indulgences, suffers from a similar malady. Entrées are somewhat better, though hardly exceptional. The ½ grilled pork knuckle (13,90€) is wonderfully moist, but the accompanying sauce tastes suspiciously like the salty broth that passed for consommé; and the potato dumplings are completely tasteless. The pike-perch (14,80€) is slightly on the dry side; though the sides of red cabbage (3,30€) and German potato salad (3,80€) are excellent. The bread pudding with almond ice cream and apricot sauce (8,50€) is a hearty finishing touch, although, once again, hardly exceptional.

In bistro fashion, the Keller offers daily specials during lunch and dinner. Monday: braised beef roll with glazed carrots and potato puree (14,30€); Tuesday: ½ farmer's chicken with parsley and potato arugula salad (12,60€); Wednesday: ½ or ¼ Bavarian roast duck with red cabbage, apples, and potato dumpling (19,50€/13,50€); Thursday: Stuffed sweet pepper with minced meat served tomato sauce and mashed potatoes with a small salad (13,30€); Friday: filet of char with tomato-courgette vegetable and rosemary potatoes (14,60€); Saturday: rack of suckling pig in a dark beer sauce served with sauerkraut and mixed dumplings (14,70€); Sunday: glazed veal shank with braised vegetables (17,50€).

In addition, the regular menu is a copious affair, ranging from Bavarian delicacies -- homemade headcheese (8,40€), Munich sausage salad (9,40€), and sour calf's lungs with bread dumplings (8,00€) -- to sausage specialties, to grilled presentations, to boiled, roasted & smoked meats, to cheeses, to salads and side dishes. In other words, the kitchen, in my opinion, is entirely too ambitious for its own good.

Of all the restaurants sampled during our Munich sojourn, the Palais Keller was the least satisfying. If you're in search of traditional Bavarian cuisine, the Spatenhaus an der Oper, though definitely on the touristy side, has a good deal more to offer. It may cost you a few more euros, but it is surely worth the added expenditure.

The Artful Diner
November 2007

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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