Restaurant Report: Currywurst in New York

Now that spring is here, you know that sooner or later you’ll find yourself in a beer hall of some kind. And after the first pint, you’ll inevitably want to grab a bite, if only to make yourself thirsty enough for the next round. Currywurst is exactly what you need. It goes great with beer, and the spicy sausage together with salty fries will make you long for another mug.

I’ve found four German joints in New York that feature currywurst on their menus. This post won’t really have restaurant reviews, since I’m only focusing on that one dish. All of these establishments are indoors, but what better way to spend a hot summer afternoon than inside an air-conditioned beer hall?

First, a brief history of the currywurst…

Currywurst - Wechsler's

Continue reading

Berlin Restaurant Report: Pasternak

In addition to my New York restaurant reviews, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on random Eastern European restaurants I visit during my various trips. These posts may not always have the depth of my traditional reviews, so I won’t provide any ratings. I’m also unlikely to write about a place if it’s not noteworthy in some capacity.

Named after famous Russian writer Boris Pasternak, Restaurant Pasternak is located in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood of Berlin. From my limited understanding of the city’s geography, this area of former-East Berlin is now famous for its designer stores, restaurants, cafés, and bars, and has become popular among American expats and European immigrants.

Berlin - Restaurant Pasternak

As if the name wasn’t enough (the Russian author wrote Doctor Zhivago and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, for Stalin’s sake!), the menu makes it clear that Restaurant Pasternak is trying to seduce a western crowd. Dishes are named after intelligentsia, proletariat, former Soviet cities, regions, or republics, and of course, the good Doctor himself. The only thing missing is a picture of Omar Sharif on the wall. What you get instead is a collection of Soviet-inspired postcards like the one below. All in all, the selection is (luckily) much shorter than Pasternak’s novel, with a number of Russian classics delivered in multiple versions, plus a small selection of Jewish specialties such as latkes and kreplach.

Berlin - Restaurant Pasternak

Continue reading

Berlin Restaurant Report: DDR-Restaurant Domklause

In addition to my New York restaurant reviews, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on random Eastern European restaurants I visit during my various trips. These posts may not always have the depth of my traditional reviews, so I won’t provide any ratings. I’m also unlikely to write about a place if it’s not noteworthy in some capacity.

Berlin - DDR-Restaurant Domklause

DDR-Restaurant Domklause is located next to the DDR Museum in Berlin (to clarify the acronym: DDR = Deutsche Demokratische Republik. / GDR = German Democratic Republic). This also happens to be the former block of the infamous Palasthotel, the hard-currency-only, Stasi-filled hotel where Party dignitaries once received their distinguished foreign guests. As a matter of fact, the current restaurant recreates the hotel’s original recipes from the glorious days of communism, when ersatz meat was king.

Continue reading