Dinner at Schanz
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The newly minted 3 star restaurant in Germany. The owner/chef Thomas Schanz gained experience in some of the best classic restaurants in Germany, Traube Tonbach, Gästehaus Erfort and Sonnora, amongst others. His cuisine could be called modernized classic, the ingredients, all very well selected, are classic but the execution adds somewhat a modern twist. Sometimes by adding spices or acidity through fruits but most of all with some excellent sauces, some of the best I have eaten for a while. The cooking itself is flawless with the fishes being executed to the correct second creating a glassy and spongy texture.
One gets started with some snacks, one of them was a fish from the Mosel, the Gundel, which was served without head with juniper mayonnaise. Interestingly enough it reminded me of the Japanese sommer fish, the Ayu which usually gets served as a whole fish, providing a nice journey from the bitter head to the sweet tail. The truffle egg, a classic but when calibrated like this, is always a delight. Once getting to the serious dishes, the goose liver tart with Parmigiano Reggiano. A nice combination of sweetness with saltiness. The crab with cassis (see above regarding the fruit and acidity), yogurt and cornjus, an unusual combination to say the least, which even more so really worked.
After this very tasty beginning we were served 3 different fishes and the lobster. All of the fish were cooked to perfection. All of them paired with interesting sauces and very little condiments so that the fish played the key role of the dish. The red mullet was served with a hibiscus orange vinaigrette, sweet and sour at the same time, perfectly complimenting the mullet. The hake was sitting in Angostura Nectarine and Nutmeg-Consommé, combined with the fir tree tops it created a wonderfully layered flavor which was a really tasty symbiosis with the fleshy hake. However, the best was the black cod with kohlrabi, coconut and thym. Unbelievable, the cod reacted with the mixture of kohlrabi, coconut and thym astonishingly well. There was no sweetness which often is part of black cod dish in the Asian cuisines, it was new and completely satisfying.
The Eifler venison saddle, rolled in watercress (nasturtium) and then in aluminum foil, was cooked for 4 minutes at a very high temperature and 100% humidity in the steam ofen. Together with the chanterelles and the pickled radish it was a wonderful venison with the perfect texture and plenty of umami. To wrap up the savory dishes we ate sweetbread with crayfish. Also an unusual combination which really worked. The sweetbread cooked perfectly with a crispy crust and soft inner core was in complete harmony with the crayfish. The peas and the elderberry vinegar foam complemented the two main ingredients in adding acidity and extra texture. This fairly long meal got wrapped up with two desserts, not overly sweet and more on the fruity side and some petit four.
The wine pairing was by request exclusively German wines which worked very well with the food. The initial Sekt and one wine was from the paternal winery of the chef. Solid wines selected by the young Austrian sommelier Aleks Petrovic grew to the challenge of serving only German wines, the more local the better. He also is a genius when creating non alcoholic pairings. The drinks made on demand have quite a high complexity but he is able to combine the components into a harmonious drink well matching the food. Kudos!
The service is very friendly and is able to answer competently most of the questions regarding the dishes and were more than happy to get the information from the kitchen when asked very detailed questions about cooking times and techniques.
Overall this was a most satisfying meal, surprisingly almost better than some of the other German high end restaurants we visited. A well deserved third star to this fairly young chef and a great addition to the German 3 star family.