Bread Dumpling with Mushroom Sauce (Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße); Schneider Wiesen Edel-Weisse (Hefeweizen Beer); Potato Pancakes with Homemade Apple Sauce (Reibekuchen mit hausgemachtem Apfelmus)
Occupation: Barista /Student
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Suppenküche
Reviewed Suppenküche: Sunday, August 13, 2006
Suppenküche is located in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley district and easily accessible by car and public transit. The first thing I notice when entering is the large wooden door and the large, natural, unfinished wood tables. There are also some large windows, which may be opened when the weather is nice. The restaurant is almost always busy and lively with a nice mixture of people. Sometimes you may share your table with another party, but that doesn’t bother me in the least, because the tables are so spacious and the noise level is usually pretty high. If you prefer, you can sit at the bar in the corner and enjoy a beverage. They offer the best German beer selection in the entire Bay Area! They’re always fresh and flavorful, be sure to see the specials. My personal favorite is the Schneider Weisse, which is an unfiltered wheat beer, and is absolutely amazing -- it must be tried. It is actually the one beer I’ve found that is closest in this style to what you might drink in a brewery in Germany. They also offer a modest selection of wines including a couple of German Rieslings. The entire staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the drink selections as well as the menu items. I personally love the Wiener Schnitzel, which is a thin piece of pork breaded and fried, it's cooked perfectly to retain the meat's moisture with a nice crispy outer layer. It is also served with grilled potatoes and a green salad. Another great choice is the Jägerschnitzel, which is also pork, but not breaded. It is topped with a great mushroom sauce and served with perfectly prepared spätzle, which is a pasta-like dish. Spätzle can be easily under or over cooked, but they prepare it perfectly. I have never actually tried the dessert, because the portions are so big that I never have room. I particularly like to go here on Sunday afternoons for brunch. They offer a nice variety of breakfast and lunch items with smaller portions, so you don’t have to take the rest home with you. The food and the service are always top notch, as well as the beer selection, so I highly recommend this to everyone.
Occupation: Director Sales Marketing
Location: Los Gatos
Favorite Restaurant: Pasta Moon
Reviewed Suppenküche: Tuesday, August 15, 2006
So where to start with a place that, left to my own devises, I would not have chosen to spend my dining dollar in? How about we start with my walking up to the bar and being greeted by the most enthusiastic patron I have ever come across, or the very helpful and mindful bartender. In fact if it were not for the brusque and matter-of-fact greeting at the door, the entire first impression would have been very favorable. Two additional items that were detracting to that first favorable impression are one, they do not take reservations for parties of fewer than six and, two, you cannot get seated until your entire party arrives. This forces you from the smallish dinning area to the even smaller bar area. At least there we had that helpful bar guy to interact with.
My wife and I both were offered samples of wine and beer as we tried to decide what we actually wanted to drink while we waited for the rest of our party to join us. My wife and I are both wine drinkers, which we quickly realized is not the primary drink of choice at Suppenküche. The drink of choice here is beer, really good beer, which is served in quantities that I can scant recall from my youth. You can get a really big glass of beer, one full liter if you like. The opportunities for a nice glass of red wine…well, not so much. Stick to the good German Riesling.
In starting to provide a picture of the dining experience, I like to start and sometimes end with the server. Our server was, like the enthusiastic patron and the mindful bar tender, very helpful, accommodating, and patient. A big thumbs-up here. The atmosphere was good, but just too loud for my fifty-one-year-old ears. I also noticed that I was the oldest person in the place -- a comment, which is more significant to me than to the review. I enjoy engaging in conversation with my dining companions and this is just not possible. It did seem, though, that everyone else was having one very fine time.
The decor was Spartan, with pine plank wooden tables and benches along the wall for partial seating and scant decor hanging on the walls. We all did however enjoy the butterfly ceiling accoutrements.
The food is, in a word, good. Not outstanding, not fancy, but just plain "young, single, hungry guy good"! "Guy" being an important word here as you could count the females who were not there working on one hand. You get food in the same quantity as you get beer.
I ended up with the most basic of the meals served at our table, a pork chop with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes. I did get to try the red cabbage from one of the other dishes -- it was very good. The lamb shank my wife had must have been good. I don’t know for sure as she did not save me any.
We tried both of the dessert offerings. The tart lacked any real taste, distinctive or otherwise. The Black Forest Cake, which in general is not a favorite of mine, was, nonetheless, very good.
Though I would not, as I mentioned above, have chosen Suppenküche on my own and am not inclined to make a repeat visit, I am very happy to have gone. I did enjoy it, but in the end, it is just not my preference in dining. It may just be the case that I am no longer that "young, single, hungry guy" that I once was.
Occupation: Management Supervisor in Advertising
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Town Hall
Reviewed Suppenküche: Monday, August 21, 2006
I remember eating here many years ago, it didn’t really stick in my mind as a "repeat dining destination" and I haven’t been back since. When I called to make a reservation on a Tuesday for a Friday night, I was told they don’t take reservations for less than six and that if I wanted to eat there, I should get arrive at 5pm (Hello? Don’t most people have jobs that go until 5pm?). I let it go, and decided to try what I assumed would be a less popular night.
Monday night at Suppenküche was surprisingly crowded when we arrived at 7:15, and it was a bit confusing as to how to obtain a table. Once we figured it out, we were seated quickly in the main room at a communal table. The service was friendly and casual. The server even jokingly asked us what our preference was for company at the two unoccupied seats at our table.
Service is fast here, we ordered beers and appetizers simultaneously: Potato pancakes and the German ravioli -- they were out of the ravioli -- so we substituted the bread dumpling in mushroom sauce. The dumpling is the size of a softball and we devoured it. The sauce was dark, rich, and creamy, YUM. The pancakes were fine, nothing special, and not served hot enough.
On our server’s recommendation, I chose the organic chicken schnitzel with potatoes and salad from the list of specials (why they bother with a salad is puzzling. I’m certainly not going to waste precious belly room on a mediocre salad when there is seriously rich food being served all around it, but maybe that’s just me.)
I can prepare a mean chicken cutlet (and love them), so I was really happy with my order. It covered the entire serving platter, super thin, tender, and crispy-delicious. The potatoes were well-roasted with little piece of pork products in them (bacon or some such). To reiterate, this was one serious portion. The next day I enjoyed another full meal of the leftovers. This is the kind of meal I would want to enjoy on a rainy winter Sunday.
My girlfriends ventured far and wide on the menu, the lamb, the venison, and pork respectively. I was angling for someone to order the sausages I saw at another table (so I could have a taste), but sadly no one took the bait.
On to dessert, the menu only offers two choices: Black Forest Cake and Apple Strüdel. Between us four women I will say that there was quite the battle for the strüdel crust bites. The cake was okay, but next time we need to order TWO strudels to avoid any "crust confrontations."
The atmosphere is rustic and crowded, I probably would avoid going there on a weekend as it must be a madhouse. This is a great place to go for BIG PORTIONS of meat-rich comfort food at a reasonable price.