Strasbourg, capital of Alsace region, is a little over two hours away from Paris by train. We took the morning train and arrived in time for lunch. Husband booked a table at Maison Kammerzell. The restaurant is situated in the main city square next to a cathedral, i.e. Tourist Central. From the outside it looked imposing and was starting to fill up with prosperous looking business people. The first thing that striked us was the efficient greet-and-show-to-table routine at the door, they found our online reservations detail very quickly and escorted us up the stairs to a nice corner table with a view of the cathedral.
The building is centuries old, the upstairs dining room had a mediaeval sumptuousness that is quite welcoming and reassuring.
The sun was shining and a glass of chilled gerwurztraminer seemed like the thing to drink and it was delicious. Escargots in lots of herbed garlicky butter also seemed right and husband enjoyed it very much.
The child had the kid's menu of knacks with fries. Rather good, she was very pleased with this dish, not surprisingly.
I did not want anything too heavy, so I ordered the salmon choucroute. I don't think I saw fish choucroute anywhere else, but it is the specialty dish in this restaurant.
What arrived was a sizeable mound of choucroute covered in beautifully cooked salmon. The fish was delicious, so was the slightly tangy buttery sauce that was poured over it, but it was the choucroute below that impressed me. It didn't look like much, just a pile of cooked cabbage, but the taste was amazingly complex. Crisper textured than the typical German style that I usually prefer, and very full bodied, full of deep intense savory flavours balanced just so of mild sweetness and acidity, a far cry from the rough and overly sour pickled cabbage that passes for choucroute in Paris.
It is quite mysterious to me how they make such delicious choucroute in Alsace, but talking to a wine producer a few days later (more of that in another post), she revealed that one of the steps involved steeping and rinsing the cabbage in the local wine.
Back to our meal. Husband had made dinner reservations for the same evening, so he advised me not to eat too much. I was getting quite full too, and regretfully left half of the wonderful choucroute on my plate.
He too, had a tough challenge in front of him. His meat choucroute plate had a glorious selection of sausages, including a very good boudin noir, ham and pork belly. All very tasty, with a different type of choucroute that was just as amazing as mine.
We had another choucroute meal on the last day of our trip, in another well-known restaurant about 45 minutes away from Strasbourg; that was nice and all, but I greatly preferred the Kammerzell version. Everytime I see the choucroute that is sold at my local market, I kick myself for not eating more when I was in the restaurant. Maybe one day I can convince husband to accompany me to Strasbourg just to eat there again. It is not too outrageous to make a day trip just to eat cabbage, or is it?Maison Kammerzell
16, place de la Cathédrale
T : 33 (0)3 88 32 42 14