Restaurant Schwarzwaldstube is a 3 star Michelin restaurant in the Traube Tonbach hotel in the Black Forest of Germany. It can be reached by car or train from Frankfurt. The hotel has been in the same family for 9 generations and the current owner made the rounds of the room during meal service. His great, great grandfather had been a baker in the restaurant. The room has windows with granite counters below that look at the beautiful scenery outside, a deeply recessed wood ceiling, plush carpet, 12 white clothed widely spaced large tables set with gray-brown napkins had little chandeliers on the side, nice padded chairs and faint background music. The excellent service is provided by formally dressed males and females in traditional clothing. Head chef Torsten Michel took over in 2017, having started there in 2004, and he changes the menu every 7 weeks and offers a la carte as well as 3 tasting menus, one being vegetarian and the others, long and short versions of the degustation menu. We chose the longer of the degustation menu with one substitution on the first course where I had a tuna dish instead of the mackerel on the menu.
With our champagne we were served an array of snacks. A lobster ball fried in panko crumbs was adorned with a pineapple and mango chutney. It was delicious. A tartar of veal was seasoned with an herbal vinegar and mustard. It was a coarsely hand-chopped tartar that was simple and yet exquisite. A poached squid was alongside a saffron aioli on a dark rice chip. It was a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
The next amuse bouche was a wild white salmon on creamed horseradish with lime and topped with a cracker, smoked salmon caviar and avocado cream. It was amazing. The lovely cream contrasted wonderfully with the crisp thin cracker and all the tastes completely melded together to produce a flavor explosion of fun in your mouth.
They offered an array of breads to chose from – baguette, olive, rye, cereal. Unlike when they started the bread dough is brought in from elsewhere but the baking is still done in house. They offered a choice of butter or olive oil. We chose butter with salt.
Marinated yellow fin- and wooden mackerel was plated with garden cucumber, miso creme and ginger, wasabi foam and shoyu marinade. The piece of mackerel on the top was from the Atlantic and had stronger flavor whereas the yellow fin piece from the Pacific was below and more mildly flavored. All the parts blended nicely for a wonderful dish.
As I’m not a mackerel fan the waiter suggested substituting the Pickled tuna “Kishu” with duck barnacles and razor clams, miso and young seaweed, shiitakes and ginger, and wasabi foam. It was an excellent choice. The Kishu tuna was from Japan, marinated then topped with dried skin of tuna. It was a belly cut and rolled. The miso cream were small dots on the plate and in the center was a cucumber and wasabi foam. The back filet of tuna was the bottom piece and it also was topped with bonita flakes. They get their tuna fresh everyday.
Gently roasted duckliver was with tossed artichokes, artichoke chips and reduced poultry jus with truffle. The liver had been poached and then pan fried and topped with crisp artichoke chips and then at the table it was surrounded with duck jus with truffle. It was excellent. The liver and artichoke pieces both really were filled with flavor. A creamed purée formed a ring around the plate that blended in with the sauce. All the components in the dish were great alone and also wonderful mixed together. They left additional sauce on the table. Each part was so good I hated to dilute them by mixing cause I wanted to savor their individual flavors. Really outstanding.
Filled squid, scallops and seafood were plated with steamed spinach, and light saffron brew with tarragon. The saffron was Swiss and mixed with watercress, tarragon and shallots to form an amazing sauce for the various bits of shellfish. Prawns, scallops and tarragon made up the filling for the squid. It was delicious. The prawns in the dish were amazing and the stuffing excellent. The sauce was exquisite and they were nice enough to come around with more. It was really yummy.
Next was a duo of pommerian beef with slightly smoked bone marrow, mash of parsley, young shallots and meat juice with Barolo vinegar. The beef was from the border region of Germany and Poland, on a Polish farm where they have done business for 12 years. It was the Entrecote cut that had been pan fried and marinated with lime and herb barbecue sauce. A square of short rib, well cooked, meat was also on the plate and it was topped with the smokey bone marrow. Spring onions, beef jus and parsley root purée rounded out the plate. The sauce was once again exquisite and really made the plate sing. Another wonderful plate of food.
Cheese from the trolley was part of the meal and all the cheeses they served were from France. It was a huge selection of cow, goat and sheep varieties. You could pick as you wanted. A special array of breads were also offered including sour dough, raisin nut, baguette and chiobtta. All were very good. The server was willing to pick a selection for me based on some of my previous likes. It was good selection but the blue cheese was the best to me.
Mousseline of Genepi liquor with sour cherry ice cream and fir resin flavor, apple pearls and grog of mugwort and cardamom was the first dessert. This was a lesser offering with the flavors not blending particularly well. Maybe there were just too many flavors for them to meld into a cohesive item.
The second dessert was Croustillant and sorbet of vineyard peach with honey crisp, almond foam, pearls of red wine herb reduction and spekulatius sand. It was explained to be peach in various forms and the peach was good but the sorbet struck me as repititive of the previous course. The almond foam tasted more like chestnut paste. It was a little better than the first dessert but overall the sweet section couldn’t measure up to the savory section of the menu.
The dessert trolley is the final offering and it was filled with tasty looking options. None really stood out to me but they did provide a suitable final sweet ending for a really wonderful meal.