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|Steak with Oxtail Chocolate|
Restaurant Hirschen is modestly appointed. We went after a long day of traipsing about the Black Forest and our boots were a bit muddy, our hair a bit wild, and some of our pants a bit... corduroy. The pleasant staff didn't bat an eye at our condition and made us feel at home in the comfortable, pale yellow dining room, whose painted wooden walls evoked the feel of an old country house.
Each table in the small restaurant is used for only one group of guests per evening. There is a new, tapered white candle on each one, lit as you are seated, and there's no hurry at all to finish at any particular time, even when the candle burns low. The food and service reminded us a bit of experiences in California's Napa Valley, interestingly: Both food and service are unpretentious and there is a focus on using very high quality ingredients, prepared in a manner that highlights their extreme freshness. Flavors are similarly clean, here, though not necessarily as simple and straightforward as Californian cuisine tends to be.
Justin and I ordered the five-course tasting menu, a condensed version of the seven-course "Menu Douce" (named after chef de cuisine and co-owner Douce Steiner, a very charming woman who seems to greet all her guests in the dining room). The Europe Correspondent (a.k.a. Stefan) and the Un-Swiss Miss (a.k.a. Charlotte) ordered the intimidatingly long black truffle tasting menu. To judge by the groans of ecstasy we heard throughout dinner, they seemed to enjoy it.
|Fist Amuse Bouche|
|Second Amuse Bouche|
|Assortment of Foie Gras|
|Poached Cod with Celery Foam|
|Beef fillet with Oxtail Chocolate|
Friandises were varied and incredible. The cakes and pastries plate included everything from miniature apple and cherry tarts to multilayered cakes flavored with various fruits and tiny wedges of cheesecake. The truffle plate included mint, dark chocolate, lemon and praline truffles, each more delicious than the last -- literally.
|Bouton D'Or Cheese Cart|
I won't comment on Charlotte and Stefan's black truffle tasting menu, since I didn't taste any of the dishes in their entirety, but I'll include the food porn for your viewing pleasure.
1) Knusprige Gänseleberkugel mit Topinambur, schwarzen Pfeffer Perigordtrüffeln (crisp foie gras ball with sunchoke, black pepper and Perigord truffles)
2) Carpaccio von Jakobsmuschel und Trüffel, Limonenolivenöl (scallop and truffle carpaccio dressed with lemon and olive oil)
3) Gegrillter St. Pierre in einem Zwiebelfond mit Kalbskopf und schwarzen Perigordtrüffeln (grilled St. Pierre fish in onion sauce with an Alsatian calf head terrine and black Perigord truffles)
4) Winterliches Wurzelgemüse in einer Trüffelbouillon, Maronencreme (Winter root vegetables in truffle bouillon with chestnut cream)
5) Hausgemachte Trüffelwurst und Ibericopluma mit Trüffelsauce und Spitzkraut (home-made truffle sausage and Iberico pork shoulder loin with truffle sauce and "spitzkraut", a type of smaller, tender cabbage)
6) Vacherin Mont D `Or mit Kartoffelschaum und Trüffel (Vacherin cheese from the Mont D'Or affineur with potato foam and truffle)
7) Valrhona Zartbitterschokolade Auf einer Vanilleessenz, schwarze Perigordtrüffeln (bittersweet Valrhona chocolate with vanilla essence and black Perigord truffles)
8) Friandises -- Oops, I just realized that Charlotte and Stefan were supposed to have friandise, too, and Justin and I ate all of them. Oh well. Please reference above section for pictures. :)