Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Portland, April 6, 2010—
OUT TO A LOCAL restaurant, a brand-new one, for their Tuesday night stammtisch. I'm not nuts about German cuisine, but Grüner's not exclusively a German restaurant. I'm told it's an Alpine restaurant, serving the cuisines of Savoy, Switzerland, the Tyrols, extending into Slovenia. Well, Alsace seems a bit of a stretch to me, the nearest mountains are the Vosges as I recall, another range, the Jurasienne, lies between Alsace and the Alps. But why quibble. We had:

Escargot in garlic-parsley butter
A typically tough snail in a sauce nicely pointed, if a little thin
Tarte à l'oignon
Perfect flaky pastry, nicely balanced egg and bacon filling
Asperges, mayonnaise
Green asparagus stalks pounced on salt, lightly cooked, with tarragon-flavored sauce
Coq au Riesling
chicken braised in Riesling with shallots, crimini and black trumpet mushrooms,
with crème fraîche and herbs, with very buttery spätzle

Rhubarbe (Streusel à la rhubarbe)
good old rhubarb crisp

and with this we were served Vins d'Alsace, Domaine Marcel Deiss:
Pinot blanc, Bergheim, 2007
Riesling, 2007
Engelgarten Bergheim, 2004
Burg Bergheim, 2002

of these, all were perfect expressions of their varietal. The Pinot blanc seemed a little ordinary; the Riesling was long in the finish, honey-colored, clean. The Engelgarten was very good, but the Burg Bergheim, though starting out very well indeed, seemed - perhaps on the influence of the rhubarb, enough to kill any wine — seemed to go hard, with an iron flavor.

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