Restaurant Becker´s, Trier, Germany – 18 February 2012

Objective:

Just to make sure everyone knows and understand. I was not invited to this dinner by the restaurant. My sentiments and conclusions are subjective, which is the idea of my blog. I am not an expert, but visit restaurants as your average customer – a customer with some extra kilos on the back though. I hope the restaurant can use my experience and sentiments as input in their efforts to achive what they aim for.

.

Wolgang Becker is holding on to his 2 star Michelin rating. In compare to my last visit the prices has gone up a bit, but thats three years ago so I guess time does not stand still. Not even in this part of the world.

At Becker´s you have the choice between a 5 course and a 8 course menu. The last one having one extra main dish, cheese and 1 extra dessert. They come at 105 and 125 eur respectively. And with the amount of amuses and tasters, and later chocolates and sweets you are spoiled with thats actually still around the best price/value in the area.

The wine list is medium sized, with a heavy overweight on German and Bordeaux wines, – there is very few Bourgogne and even less Rhone wines. The price policy are amazing for local standards. Top Bordeaux wines from 1999 at a bargain…super Toscany´s the same. So the wine choice is not easy….We could have chosen at least 5 different reds to go for. But it did seem a little short on Rhone wine, which chance will have it – is among the favourite wines of best friend Jerome.

We let the young nice female waiter choose the first Riesling, great choice by the way –  Mrs. Becker chose the second white and dear friend Jerome and I opted for the 1999 Cos d´Estournel.

Nuts and crackers greeted us in the beautiful room. Great large table, unfortunately a little in the dark. So photos were a challenge. But I will share my experience anyway.

3 Amuses started the evening…

Small yellowfin tuna “fastfood” – 5 different tastings of Tuna, 3 of them being good 2 rather boring. 3 would have done the trick I think.

Warm goose liver flan coffee & cinnamon cherry – Great

Tartare of beef  – VERY GOOD

The best one the tartare of beef, which was simply stunning. Delicate. Amuses – 7 p.

Menu

3 kinds of salmon, hazelnut, pork breast, caviar

I think the weakest dish of the day, so it was nice to have it up in the front. The pork seemed a little out of place, but I know Wolfgang Becker has used this combination before so I am sure he knows what he is doing and that there is and idea behind it. I would have liked it be be a bit more crispy to make a contrast to the soft salmon. 6p

Grilled scallop, lime leafs & couscous

Great dish, I can still smell the couscous. I love couscous. This one was done with more curry aromas than I normally do it myself. It worked great with the scallops that were cooked perfect, if not grilled as described. But that was a great comeback after the first dish. 9p

Steamed Skrei with pickled vegetables, bacon and pommery mustard

We did not quite agree on this one. I thought the dish was ok, if not overwhelming, my friend did not like it. He did not like the mustard sauce at all. The fish was cooked perfectly, and of great quality. Stunning fish the Skrei – and the pickled vegetables was a daring match. I do not think the baby sweet corn belongs any way near a gastronomic dish. But this was the last downs of the evening. 6p

Braised waguy short rib, perigord truffle and jerusalem artichoke

One complain here would be that the perfect meat was too small. You never wanted this dish to end. That was really fab, both in taste but also a step up in presentation in compare to the starters. 9.5p

Variation of mineral pigeon

The kitchen kindly swapped this dish for me. I am not a big fan of pigeon, but I did try the dish of my friend. And he was one big smile. Great taste, great presentation. Best dish of the day.9.5p I was treated to two different kind of cuttings from again the waguy – and one can off course complain that I just had a different cut. But no one would complain about this dish or the repeated waguy. It was to die for. 9.5p

Selection of raw milk cheese

We skipped – we had to. Food was beginning to fill our bellies. I did not see the cheeses presented, so I cannot give you an idea about the selection, but it was presented from a waggon, to choose from.

Refreshing mandarines

I love mandarines, I loved this dish. Good pre-dessert. 7.5p

Pina colada dessert

It was my lucky day. Pina colada being my favourite cocktail – not very masculine, I know.. Small complaint, The big piece of cake – was too big in compare to the rest of the dish. But the general idea and the molecular efforts and ingredients worked well. 7.5p

Chocolates and friandises

Good selection, great taste. 2 rounds of different kinds were served. 9p

My conclusion:

2 stars michelin restaurants can be difficult choices. Not as good as 3 stars, but normally almost as expensive. Well in this part of Germany, we have the best price level available in the Western World for gastronomic dining I think. So a dinner here will not set you much further back than your average Sunday dinner in Luxembourg.

On this evening we got an ecxellent menu, with some ups and downs. When the dishes was good they were almost as good as it gets. Two or 3 dishes were really up to 3 star level. But then some where not. But when u have a big menu like we had all dishes do not have to make you sing and shout, not in my book. You get the feeling that the kitchen knows what they are doing and the quality of the used produce are impeccable. We had wonderful service throughout the evening. Engaged in small talk with the young female waiter from Leipzig as well as Mrs Becker who was shining and charming. That was good to experience and made you feel at home and welcome. The redwine we choose was met with the inquiry if we wanted it decanted, and we let that up to her to choose, she chose not to – and we both agreed and understood why.

The main dishes out-shone the starters…but thats better than the other way around.

The bread was better than on my last visit, but I still think there is room for improvement here. As I claimed above and told Mrs. Becker the menu was a bit more “shaky” than last time.  But man, the tops were really way up there among the best food possible. The wine list might be heavy on Bordeaux, but let me just repeat – the price level is amazing. So food quality wise, you are in good place here. I am looking forward to being back next year for sure with you Jerome. Thanks for joining me – and for your friendship. I love you – always. I apologise to my readers. Our table was really a bit dark, and the photos I shot was not up to par. I have chosen to include a few though. If you really want to see the dishes – well check Becker´s out…..

.

My rating for this visit:

Food  8p (10) service 5p (5) ambience 5 (5), Total Score  18p (20)

Advertisements

Rüssel’s Landhaus St. Urban, Trier, Germany – 2 June 2011

Father’s Day in Germany…called for celebration – Good friends Laurence and Peter suggested we should try this restaurant together (with Arnaud and Edwige) – on the outskirts of Trier. Actually a small hideaway with a lake between forest and hills, beautifully hidden away. Whenever you arrive at such a location with clear blue sky, – your hopes and expectations are automatically very very high. You just know its gonna be a special afternoon. And of course it is then easy to be disappointed.

Rüssel’s Landhaus holds 1 michelin star and 18 points from Gault Milau and is run by Harald and Ruth Rüssel since 1992. They achieved their michelin star back in 1993.

Heres the view that greets you….

The house with entrance, hotel and restaurant

Sundeck near the lake, 100% romance ...

A beautiful spot....

Upon reservation our friends had duly informed about 1 person suffering from a gluten allergy. This of course puts higher pressure on the kitchen, but I think that if informed already at the time of booking – problems or embarassing moments for the guest should or could be avoided.

You can choose between 5 and 7 courses, – from two different menus – ar around 100-110 eur. The wine list holds a good variety of especially German whites but also known producers from France – and mostly lesser known producers from Spain and Italy. We opted for a local 2009 Riesling, a 2009 Sauvignon Blanc from Pfalz, a 2008 Puligny Montrachet from Marc Colin, a 1999 Meursault from Mikulski and a 2004 Cote Roti.

Rustic out-door dining - I loved the furniture and the vibe.

Food was ordered, again it was noted that 1 person besides having the gluten allergy – also was a non-meat eater – and that one person had a nut allergy. That meant that the main dish being meat was swapped to a fish dish and that starter and dessert had to be adjusted for the person with the nut allergy. This was done without a fuss – nice.

So first round of amuses arrived and bread (cut baguette) was put on the table on a help yourself  basis.

Amuse 1....

Now as you can probably tell from the picture the fois gras creme had a nut dress, and all three somehow made with products that contained gluten – and far from vegetarian anyway – So the result of that was irritation, – if you do the effort to ask, and in this case evenare  informed at the time of reservation that there is something to consider – well then please adjust. We all agreed that this was a no-go. And it somehow took away the focus of the amuse. And the missus had to look at us all eating.

Amuse 2

Very nice – but again the missus – vegetarian and gluten allergic– remember she swapped a meat main dish against a fish dish – arguing her vegetarin/no meat status – was presented with a variation of this dish she could not eat – non gluten but with meat. So the second dish in a row. where the rest of us ate and the missus watched.

Kaninchen....

One of the best dishes of the day….I shall give it a good 8p

Pochierte Lachsforelle

First dish of day for the missus…I did not try this one..but it looked ok, with some nice details. 6.5p

Kabeljau - (Cod)

As Arnaud put it…”you cook cod better Bo” – (coming from a michelin starred chef) I felt good and proud. Well so do you Arnaud. However, I liked the “provence” touch of the dish – actually that “provence” touch ran through out the menu, the lighness and simplicity. 6p

Backsaibling

One of the weakest dishes – The morel had hardly any taste – so why include it ?- 5p

Felchen

The fresh creme cheese stuffed tortellinis were great, the fish good, the dish worked 7.5p

Lammrücken (rack of lamb)

Slowly cooked lamb,  with the fat crust. great beans – best dish of the day 9p

- some had the Stubenküken

Not a great presentation, but I did not try it. I did not like the look of the peas creme on the chicken. Looked like it had been standing a while. 6p

Abrikosen Müsli - with Joghurt Ice

Very nice joghurt ice, the rest alright if not stunning. 7p

Sweets

Conclusion:

Whenever you are dining with an insider, you get the chance to discuss the obvious flaws and the highlights. What goes wrong or good and why it is so difiicult to cope with this and that. However, being just a guest – and a hobby chef – you tend to judge more “black and white”.

On an overall opinion, the food had a nice “Southern Vibe”, but something was done very simple or easy, but maybe that is the style of Chef Rüssel. I actually like when you are presented with dishes you can re-produce. But for the price you pay, you get more sophisticated food at Becker’s in Trier, or you get food from a different planet at Schloss Berg for 30 eur more per person.

The garden, the terrase, most of the staff  – all warm and inviting. I loved the warm greeting we got at the entrance. But it all lost a bit along the way, when we had to wait longer periods for a wine or a course. And when the missus for the third or 4th time had to say no to bread to her cheese platter because of her allergy, well at some point you wonder if the service  listen or care or just wander through the valley of life with ears and eyes closed.

So I would say – on this day – we were slightly disappointed with the overall impression of the place. Maybe we were unlucky and caught the staff on a unlucky day. I thank Mr. Rüssel  for signing a cook book, which I had spotted upon arrival, with a nice personal message. I collect and treasure these books and memories. Having looked a bit into the book, it looks great, and I am sure will inspire me in my kitchen. Maria, the young female sommelier, you kept a smile on your face, even on what seemed like a busy day.

To Laurence and Peter, thanks for showing us this beautiful place, even if the standard was not up to your previous visits, one can argue that we finished most plates and that the problems with the allergy and vegetarian status of Astrid is something we ALSO have to learn to come to terms with. And we had a lovely afternoon.  Looking forward to our next joint adventure on the 22 October. Laurence, Peter, Edwige & Arnaud – we treasure your friendship and love you all.

My rating for this visit: Food 6.5p (10), service 2.5p (5), ambience 5 (5), total score for this visit  14p (20)

Some happy faces to finish the day on a positive note….

The beautiful girls....

3 good looking guys....

Good food, blue sky, great wines - good friends - what more do you want ?

http://www.landhaus-st-urban.de/

Becker´s – Trier – 17 October 2009

Chef: Wolfgang Becker, Michelin rating: 2 stars, Millaud rating: 17 points

This review will be without photos…..I forgot the camera.

Nevertheless, I have to make the review since the evening was filled with so many ups and downs.

The restaurant was awarded it second star this year, and since my earlier visits they have renovated the place, established a wine bar, and divided the restaurant into a gastronomic part and a wine-stub brasserie. Furthermore a modern hotel has arisen and the overall impression when you arrive is “wauw – stunning” -especially since the establishment is placed in a small dull street on the outskirts of  Trier.

The reservation was made a good 6 weeks before and having recently read an article about how a good dining experience starts with the phone booking, I was somewhat let down by the cool way that was handled by the daugther of the house – (who is also the maitre (it seems) and maybe also the sommelier). This never became clear to us.

They have one 8 course menu at 105 euro (a bargain) – which you may reduce to 5 courses at 85 euro. The menu changes weekly.

We were the first to arrive at 6 pm and asked for the wine bar…a modern interior with the same wine list as the restaurant. We started with a glass of local Riesling, continued with a bottle of Knipser Sauvignon Blanc – a pleasant wine and a bargain at around 25 euro.

The wine list was good on Bordeaux reds and low on Burgundy wines. Nevertheless we settled for the large menu and a Chablis Grand Cru from a good producer and a 1999 Chateau Palmer.

During our 1 hour stay at the bar we were served roasted almonds….and later more roasted almonds.

When shown to our table the beautiful room gave us high expectations. Modern, raw walls, indeed very pretty.

Ms. Christine Becker emerged, I think she greeted us and we finished the bottle of Knipser with the amuses. She then came back to tell us that she had been through the whole cellar, but had not succeeded in finding the Chablis we ordered but only the 1. cru which she would suggest to us. Now my companion and good friend Jerome is a sommelier, and the reason we went for the Chablis was that it had been a long time since he had tried a Grand Cru from this apparently top producer. So we swifted to a Meursault 1. cru from a less well-know producer. I think the Meursault came around 65 eur and was a good but not stunning wine.

The Chateau Palmer was placed in the back of the room, I dont recall it beeing shown to us but I was already irritated by the coolness and un-inspiring ways of Ms. Becker. The wine was going to be decanted without asking us before. I was ready to obstruct because I normally prefer the wine to develop in the glass. However, my friend said that should the wine prove to have suffered from the treatment rather than the opposite we were in our good right to obstruct, but at this pont we should leave it. As it turned out the wine was perfect. And I mean perfect. A red Bordeaux does not need to be better than this, and we both agreed the dacanting had indeed improved the wine. But what I still dont understand, why make way for a possible conflict instead of simply telling us her ideas about doing it and then let us the paying clients decide what we wanted. You can always decante the wine after the initail tasting, but certainly not undo the decanting.

As it turned out the wine had sparkled our interest. Jerome asked Ms. Becker if she had tried the wine, which was met by a yes – and her leaving again.  No room for chit chat there. But we didnt give up…so we ordered a Chateau Montrose same year, half the price to see how it would compare. Again the wine was decanted but of course did not stand as long in the caraffel. When served it was somewhat slimmer and a bit more closed that the Palmer. It developed during the next hour..but never reached the Palmer in fullness and perfection.

As for the menu here you go – we started with a few tastings then the official amuses….Törtchen von Räucherfischen and Karotten/Ingwer süppchen mit Kalbsbries.

The Menu

Delice von Bretonischen Langoustinen

Gegrillte Sankt Jakobsmuschel, Ricotta, Lauch und Herbsttrüffel

Tranche vom Atlantik-Steinbutt, Artischocken, Tomaten und Kapern

Gebackene Entenstopfleber, Apfel-Kartoffelstampf mit Kraut

Variation vom Landschwein, herbstlich inspiriert

Dreierlei Bergkäse

Granité “After Eight”

Variation von Zitrusfrüchten

Chocolats & Friandises

At some pont in the beginning of the menu a large bread/baguette cut into slices was served – it looked great but was too soft and seemed half baked. An hour later a waiter emerged with 4 different kind of bread rolls, of which we tried 2 or three and they were all soft and again – seemed half-baked. Even after finishing our bread no “re-fill” was offered which seemed peculiar given the large menu.

So what does one make of all this.

First let me say that the food was more or less flawless, especially the delice was stunning, the roasted fois gras as well as the pork variation was clearly the high-lights for me. The plates are beautiful, simple and not to large servings. Meaning we could leave after 5 hours of dining (and drinking) without feeling overly full.

So – GREAT GREAT food but no “wauww” moments, just simple good produce presented beautifully in nice settings. The dishes ranged from 7,5 to 10 for me. I was not too crazy about the desserts. The After Eight beeing a nogo in my book. But lets say a good 8-8,5 for the food.

The wines – well we had close to a 10 on the reds, but the list itself is heavy on German whites, naturally. Very good priced Bordeaux´s.

The service – I would give the kind and attentive waiter Nadine Permantier a good 4 out of 5 – we never missed water and wine. And she was as the only woman in the house smiling. Now what to think of Ms. Becker – I dont know. Had she been a waiter I would say a 3 but she was the maitre (I think – and sommelier) and never once did she entertain in any kind of conversation, hardly a smile, -she did however follow us to the door when we left and wished us a good night and for that I will give her a 1. She was just not inspired enough. Like she had been planted in a water bottling production and had to pee.

Well – conclusion, we loved the food, loved the room – hated the coolness of most of the staff. They work in a beautiful restaurant with beautiful food. If they are not more inspired than the waitress at your local McDonalds they have chosen the wrong line of business – the exception being Ms. Permantier. If you read this Mr. Becker – she’s a keeper – improve the rest.

Will we be back – I honestly dont know – but for the final prices I have had greater evenings elsewhere, and it seems that my feelings/expectations these days are rather high on the service factor – and here they lacked for sure. When that is said….have you less expectations in that respect or maybe better luck than we had, a menu at this level for around 100 euro, add a bottle of Knipser for 25 euro, and you will find it hard to find a better price/quality level around these neck of the woods.

Rating for this visit: Food 8p (10) – Service 2p (5), Ambience 5p (5) – Total score 15

http://www.beckers-trier.de/