Food: French classic with German influences
Address: Tonbachstraße 237, 72270 Baiersbronn-Tonbach, Germany
Phone Number: +49 (0) 7442 492 622 (reservation)
Guide Michelin: 3 stars
Gault & Millau: 19.5
What I paid: 357 € (Large tasting menu, including wine, water and coffee. Per person.)
Visited: November 10, 2016
The history of Traube Tonbach dates back to 1789 when Tobias Finkbeiner built one of the very first houses in the Tonbach valley when the forestry industry was just starting to take hold there. Then, he opened a tavern for the thirsty lumberjacks and all the other working men. The original dining hall, of the “Traube”, is today known as the Bauernstube.
In 1920, the tavern became an inn and in 1957 Willi Finkbeiner built the first part of the current hotel complex. Schwarzwaldstube opened in 1977 and was attended by among others Paul Bocuse and Jean Troisgros. In 1993 Heiner Finkbeiner took over from his uncle Willi and he has been in charge to this day, aided since 2009 by his sons Matthias and Sebastian.
Harald Wohlfhart has been head chef since 1990 and in 1992, Schwartzwaldstube received its ultimate third stare, which it has retained since then. Wolhfahrt is the grandfather of German cuisine and no less than five of Germany’s current three star Michelin chefs have trained/cooked under him. They are Kevin Fehling at The Table, Christian Bau at Victor´s Gourmet Restaurant, Klaus Erfort at Gastehaus Erfort, Thomas Buhner at La Vie. Also, Joachim Wissler at Vendome trained in the kitchens of Traube Tonbach. Thirty chefs who worked here have gone on to win Michelin stars of be themselves.
Schwarzwaldstube has one small- and one large tasting menu, one vegetarian menu, as well as à la carte. We opted for the large menu.
LARGE DEGUSTIAN MENU
Instead of the usual sparkling wine as an aperitif, we found some very interesting still white wine choices on the wine list.
One of my friends become very excited when he not just found Raveneau in the wine list, but also very competitively priced such. The drawback was that the vintages present were all to young.
Even though I personally were interested in a top wine wine from F.X. Pichler, I was not that hard to persuade to go with a Raveneau Les Clos. 2011 is not a particularly good vintage in Chablis, but since we are talking about not just Raveneau but also its top wine, Les Clos, the vintage is of less importance. At least from a pure quality perspective… Even though we all know that Raveneau needs a lot of time, the Sommelier said that the 2011 was now matured. Of course it was not, so even though I enjoyed this Chablis, I also understand that it was way to early to drink.
A trio of amuse-bouches arrived, but none of them but none of them made any major impression.
Next up was a number of amusement were all contained hare. I liked those petit-fours, especially the first “dim sum” and the last terrine (leftmost in the picture above).
Scallops and edible crab, crustacean jelly
with young seaweed tips and mild curry oil
Now we got our first dish from the menu, namely a cold scallop dish. Nothing special in regards to my taste buds.
After som discussions with the sommelier, we were recommended a 2005 Domaine Trapet Père & Fils – Gevrey-Chambertin.
Gevrey-Chambertin, a village in Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits district, produces some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive red wines. The village is home to nine Grand Cru vineyards, comfortably more than any other Burgundy village (the nearest contender is Vosne-Romanee). Eight of these feature ‘Chambertin’ somewhere in their name, in homage to the most respected among them: Le Chambertin.
In comparison with the previous wine (i.e. the 2011 Raveneau Chablis), this wine was more mature and everyone liked this choice.
Fried duck liver with artichoke croustillant,
olive mash and reduced poultry jus with basil
Croustillant is French for crisp, crusty or crunchy and I appreciated that were some contrasting textures in this predominately foie gras based dish. Good!
Confit polar sea cod with mushroom crust,
forest mushroom bouillon, fall truffle
The next main course was cod, which most of us considered a little bit overcooked. That being said, nothing wrong with the taste. Good, but not excellent.
Young wild sheep „royal“ with leaves of Brussels sprouts,
black root and sauce Rouennaise with cranberries
Rouennaise sauce (French Sauce Rouennaise) is a Bordelaise sauce with the addition of puréed duck liver.
I personally thought this dish was more interesting than good … All the other thought it was bad and could not even finish it.
Since we were so disappointed with the previous dish and actually complained about it, we were offered a free extra dish.
This “bonus” dish had meat of very high quality and this serving was superior in comparison to the previous one.
Cheese from the trolley
A deconstructed orange clove and a cake was served as a pre-dessert. Nothing special.
Marinated pear crisp in passionfruit saffron brew, chestnut Vermicelles and white chocolate licorices ice-cream
Good, but not that exciting.
Iced Kir Royal champagne foam with cassis, pink grapefruit with timut pepper
No picture and no memory…
Schwarzwaldstube is a restaurant that I really have wanted to visit for many years and apart from being probably Germany’s most famous restaurant, I have never read anything but really good reviews about this place. Not only the highest accolade of three stars in Guide Michelin (for about 25 years) but also a stunning 19,5 rating in Gault & Millau (only one chef ever, has had 20,0, so 19,5 is very rare).
All that being said, all four of us were actually disappointed in regards to what we were served and puzzled on the topic of all those great reviews. Was it the relatively new menu that we had? I am not sure, but since I really like most other 3-star restaurants in Germany (including many of the chefs who have trained at Schwartzwaldstube), I should probably give it another try.
Great wine list, with lots of good wines with moderate mark-ups.