Thursday, September 8, 2011

Grunauer

   Tonight I had the opportunity to join my coworkers for dinner with some business partners who were visiting from out of town. Dave was kind enough to make reservations at a restaurant none of us had tried (but we'd all heard great things about): Grunauer. They serve authentic German & Austrian food in the Crossroads/Freight House District.
   The ambience of the place is great: a wide open dining room with a high ceiling graced with large, beautiful chandeliers, and flanked by reproductions of vintage coffee & tea posters for Meinl coffee (the one below, my favorite, was signed F. Weidner). The company is over 150 years old and makes a damn good cup of coffee. And a rare one, too: Grunauer is the only U.S. restaurant to serve it, under an allowance by its 70-year-old sister restaurant in Austria. Sweet.
   We all shared Sausage sampler with sides of mashed potatoes and homemade sauerkraut.
For my entree, I ordered the special: grilled red snapper with a side of pomme frites, and a nice Sauvignon Blanc. The sausages were outstanding, the sauerkraut was the first I've ever been able to stomach, and the fries were notable. The fish and potatoes were inexplicably unseasoned, however. And the charring on the fish overpowered the delicate flavor (the outside was a bit overcooked, but the inside was perfect).
   Dave ordered a Gulasch, the Hungarian beef. He let me try the paprika sauce, which was excellent, and the dollop of sour cream in the middle was refreshing. This is the dish I wish I had ordered.
   At the end of the meal when we ordered the coffee, our server (the service was great!) brought a plate of dessert: dense chocolate brownies topped with sesame seeds and apricot jam. These were so good that I will certainly attempt to reverse-engineer them!
   Overall, it was a very good dining experience, though I'm not sold on German/Austrian food. I think for me, it's like Indian food: I need to try a bunch of things and identify the few that I like. If you love good sausage, this is your place.