Posts tagged ‘Küsnacht’
Finally I’ve made it to the legendary Kunststuben. I’ve never been here before and I was pretty excited to see what the place is like. The well known Horst Petermann officially retired and his longtime right-hand man Rico Zandonella has stepped up to the plate and is running the show. My dining partner was waiting for me and when I sat down the first thing I notice is that the table is wobbly. Not being shy I ask the waiter nicely to fix it. She’s actually very surprised when giving the table a shake to see that it actually is wobbling and promises to fix it right away. I did have to re-iterate my simple request twice (after waiting five minutes) until it finally got fixed. Another thing which put me off was the german waitresses gooey friendliness, but I was here for the food and decided to overlook this. The first course blew me off my feet. It was a delicious preparation of foie gras. The snap peas (Kefen) were actually upon closer inspection only half a snap pea, which was split down the middle. I do not envy whomever was working on this in the kitchen, but it was a great display of craftsmanship. Also a special mention was the foie gras ice cream refined with a sprinkle of Armagnac and Calvados – hmmmmmm. Slightly disappointing were the small breads which were served, I tried them all and one of the white ones I got was dry. Next was a very delicately smoked piece of salmon – there wasn’t much you could do better with this fish. It was served on slices of potatoes and a star anise sauce. While reading the menu I was excited for the courgette flower with langoustine course. The disappointment was that the farce and the langoustine didn’t develop enough flavour and I would have liked it better if there was a stronger textural contrast. Main course was a brill fish with potato scales on top of some calamari and coconut and lemongrass sauce. This dish once again showed the great, unrivaled strength of Kunststuben – sauces. All of the sauces were small masterpieces, you can taste and sample over and over again and still discover new flavours and nuances. I had to surpress a smile when the cheese course was served, a simple piece of truffled brie. Now I’m all for simple dishes – but this here was simply too lowkey. Truffled brie is like the Opel Manta of cheeses. It reminded me of opening a pack of Migros Sélection amouse bouche when friends are over and calling it fine dining. My only explanation is they ran out of whatever great cheeses they normally serve. Dessert made me happy again, peaches cooked in Sauternes with a delightful thyme ice cream and a mille-feuille. Another observation was when looking around the dining room, was that most of the diners seem to be regulars. This also echoed when I was asked by the Maitre d’ and the chef how the food was and politely mentioned that the Courgette flower / langoustine course wasn’t quite as convincing and that they reacted almost shocked. It seems that diners here do not offer constructive criticism and the staff isn’t accustomed to dealing with it. Cutting to the chase – the key question is, will the restaurant keep its rating of 19 points in the Gault Millau and remain the best restaurant in Zurich? Based on the performance, while the potential still looms, I doubt that the Kunststuben will remain at the top of Zurich’s restaurant food chain. If details decide who goes all the way to the top, this restaurant needs tweaking on bread, cheese and service. What is absolutley among the best I’ve experienced are the sauces and these alone are worth the visit. Even if this might have been a bad night. This is the restaurant people got to for a once-in-a-lifetime experience where you can expect stellar performance on every night. Prices are also in the once-in-a-lifetime range:
Soccer practice was calling and this time I had a quick meal at the Steinburg in Küsnacht. The appearance and the dining room are typical for restaurants of this type, they attempt to intimidate clients, so that they are too scared to complain. Walking into the place, you at least know that your meal is not going to cheap and it certainly doesn’t have the air of a fun place to be. Since game season is beginning I chose a wild game terrine and a deer entrecote. Like restaurants in this league customarily do, I was served an amuse-bouche. Now we’re here in the beginning of fall, on the lake of Zurich and I get a spoon with a shrimp based amuse-bouche. It had a nice texture and taste, but what the hell is the cook thinking – I just hope he doesn’t buy his groceries online from Vietnam. The terrine was excellent, it had a perfect silky, succulent texture, a nice, lingering taste of game and it matched nicely with the sweet and fruity sauce. The two types of bread that went with it, the dark one was spot on, the white should have been fed to the ducks. The Spätzli which were served with the deer, were lovely, because they were roasted and browned in butter after they cooked in the water. Unfortunatley they were severly hampered by the crumble on top of it. It tasted of breadcrumbs and butter, but I wasn’t able to find out what it was and was furious, that someone destroyed almost perfect food with such a stupid idea. Brussel sprouts weren’t soft enough for my tasting. The meat was encompanied by a lovely mushroom sauce and was truly a good tasting deer dish. All in all, I’ll be back If I need to impress someone with a nice restaurant and don’t want to take any chances on the food. It must be said, that the food is expensive – details see bill:
On my way to soccer again, I stopped in Küsnacht and decided to grab a bite at the Restaurant Fähnlibrunnen. I was tempted to go into the Steinburg on the other side of the street, but it doesn’t give you the impression of being the place for a 45 minute dinner. Not much was going on in the Fähnlibrunnen about a dozen people were there. There was a tartare menu provided by the swiss butchers association, comparable to the prefabricated dessert menus so I decided to stay away from that. Looking over the menu, the prices looked rather expensive for sort of a “normal” restaurant just off the road. I settled on pick-perch in batter with salad and melon. It was a truly great meal. The batter was very light and tender, not your typical fried fish sloppy cover and cooked to perfection. A lovely bowl of sauce remoulade was served on the side. I also liked that there were two different types of green salads an the plate, including lamb’s lettuce (Nüsslisalat) each dressed with their own sauce. The melon was fresh and sweet, and had a nice, ripe aroma. The only real turnoff was the cherry on top of the lemon. Who thinks of things like that ? Anyway, I’ll be back it’s well worth the price (check picture), just don’t expect a cheap meal for a family of four at a local watering hole, even if it looks like that from the outside.