Friday, December 11, 2015

Christophorus... when you have a need to impress or celebrate...


Tonight's sunset...  It was a stunner.

When we lived in Stuttgart the first time, I kept thinking we'd visit the Porsche Museum, but we never did.  We made it to the Mercedes Museum, but ran out of time before we could venture in the opposite direction and check out the fancy sportscars.  Some time ago, a member of the Facebook group Stuttgart Vents told me that I needed to try Christophorus, the restaurant at the Porsche Museum.  Since I'm more into good food than fancy cars, I decided to make a reservation.  I did so on OpenTable.de... several weeks in advance.  I reserved in early November and tonight was the first available date.

Well... now Bill and I have experienced Christophorus.  We have heard that it has the best steak in the area.  I must agree, the steaks there are fabulous.  In fact, I think my tastebuds all experienced simultaneous orgasms as I enjoyed my first taste.  It is quite a lovely place for dinner, especially if you're in the mood to commemorate a special occasion.

As it turns out, Bill and I do have cause to celebrate.  Tomorrow morning, he will send off his last assignment for his second master's degree.  Very soon, he will be as "educated" as I am... though since he will actually use his education, I would not call him "overeducated".  For the past several weeks, we have both endured him having to get up in the middle of the night for conference calls with his classmates in Colorado.  For the past three years, his coursework, while mostly very flexible and portable, has occasionally cramped our style.

I am the one who convinced Bill to go ahead and get that second master's degree, since it meant just a year in school and someone should be using the Post 9/11 Bill (and I sure as hell don't want to go back to school).  It's been a challenging year for both of us.  Now he's done... and he's coming very close to graduating with honors in a program that definitely wasn't easy.  So we splurged tonight at Christophorus and it was worth every euro cent.  Special thanks to Rick, who has mercilessly teased me about being "overeducated", but tipped me off to this very nice restaurant.  It was truly a first class experience, from the minute we drove into the parking garage until we said goodbye to our servers a couple of hours later.


We parked our car in the garage, in a special area for restaurant guests.  Bring your parking ticket with you.  It will be validated so you don't have to pay.  Several Porsches are in the garage, available for a test drive.


The door opens for you as you walk to the elevator, which takes you to the restaurant and the conference facility.

We were warmly greeted by a server, who took our coats and led us to a very spacious and comfortable table near the impressive wine collection.  Within minutes of being seated, a very pleasant server came by with a cart loaded with all manner of apertifs.  I had a glass of pink champagne, while Bill had a glass of white champagne.  We sipped our bubbly as we perused the menu, entirely printed in English.  The servers also spoke flawless English and were extremely attentive.



Prost...


I thought the Porsche model car was a nice touch.


A cart full of liqueurs and other delights... and the very impressive wine collection.  On the other side of the dining room, one can watch the chefs at work.  Personally, I liked sitting near the wine, but I'm not known for my sobriety.

After we made our selection of courses, we sat back and looked around.  Having once waited tables myself, I could really appreciate how unhurried and professional the staff was.  They had plenty of people working and nobody looked bitter or weeded.  In fact, it appeared to be a very nice place to work.  The servers were genuinely nice to us, which I found very refreshing (though not that uncommon in Europe, where no one has to hustle for tips in order to make a living).


Lovely fresh bread.  We had salted butter, an olive tapenade, and a cottage cheese and tomato spread. I didn't try the cheese and tomato spread.  Bill did and liked it.  The breads were mostly good, though the flatbread was a little burned on the bottom.  No big deal, really.  Who needs to fill up on bread?


An amuse.  I must confess, I didn't really eat this.  I did taste it... but as it was goose liver pate served on red cabbage, I couldn't quite stomach it.  I will say that as much as I dislike the taste of liver, this had a very interesting flavor.  In fact, in many ways, it reminded me of a chocolate truffle with a little cinnamon kick.  It didn't really taste like goose liver... Bill ate his and enjoyed it.


Brave man.

Tonight, they were offering a pasta dish with a generous topping of truffles.  I don't do truffles or anything else akin to mushrooms.  Bill loves truffles, but at 39 euros a pop, it was a bit much for a starter.  We were told it could also be a main course.  Perhaps if we hadn't heard so much about the steak, Bill would have ordered it.  The people at the table next to us had one order of it and we could smell it easily from several feet away.  Bill was intoxicated by the aroma.  I wish I liked truffles.  On the other hand, the fact that I don't is probably better for our budget.


I had the Essence of Parsley with Shrimp Dumplings...   I paired this with a suggested glass of white wine from Baden that smelled of pears and tasted of butter.  I asked the name of the wine and was told what it was, but I couldn't spell it to save my life.  It went very well with the shrimp dumplings. 


And Bill had a beautiful Caesar Salad.  Really, it looked like art and was very delicious.  I liked my starter, too.

Before we ordered our steaks, our server brought out a display that showed the sizes and cuts of each piece of meat.  Christophorus offers an "original size" and a "lady's cut".  I decided to get the lady's cut, which was 250 grams.  Bill had the original cut...  He had a strip and I had a rib eye.  The beef at Christophorus is USDA Prime beef.  It's from the United States.



My rib eye... it was fantastic.  It was cooked perfectly and was beautifully seasoned.  Rick was right.  It was a marvelous steak.


I ordered a side of hash browns for an extra five euros.  The steaks also came with baked onion rings and homemade steak sauces.


Onion rings and sauces.  Bill's strip was 350 grams.  It was cooked perfectly to medium and tasted amazing.  Bill ordered a reserve bottle of rioja that was just delightful with its essence of leather and fragrant nose.

Throughout dinner, our servers took impeccable care of us and kept our table spotless.  They were unfailingly polite and we never had to pour our own wine or water.  


Dessert.  I went with the martini cocktail of passion fruit and saffron.  I don't think this had booze in it... It was basically sorbet with passion fruit juice and a chocolate garnish served in a martini glass.


Bill had Mandarin and chocolate cake with hazelnut gratinee.  The hazelnut tasted like it was infused in a snow cone.  He loved it.  

Finally, about two hours after we first sat down, it came time for the check.  They brought out some candies/cookies to soften the blow.  And we had a round of espresso...




The damage.  About 233 euros before the tip.  By comparison, last night at Tommi's Bistro, we spent 77 euros for two steaks, two sides, two shots of sherry, two bottles of wine, and two bottles of water... along with live music.


A fabulous bottle of Spanish wine from 2005.


More Porsche pics.


Maybe we'll test drive one someday.

As we were getting our coats, the lady who took care of us the most asked if we lived here.  I guess she was impressed by Bill's German and the fact that we had a clue about how to eat out in Germany and not look completely American.  Bill was modestly telling her his German isn't so good... but I piped up that it's still way better than mine!  I'm working on it, though.  Thank you, Duolingo.


The Porsche complex is very impressive... even at night!

Rick wanted to know how I would compare Tommi's Bistro and Christophorus.  Here's what I have to say about it.  If you're looking for a special place, want to impress someone, and don't mind dropping a load of euros, Christophorus is tough to beat.  The food and service are truly outstanding and, I thought the prices weren't that out of line for what we got.  It's not the most expensive meal we've ever had, but it probably ranks among one of the best.  Moreover, it's more my kind of food than Five is-- Five is a little too artsy for me, though Bill loved it.  By the way... if you don't like steak, other options are available.  Christophorus also has Mediterranean dishes and tasting menus.

If you're looking for a family friendly place to eat that has good live music and doesn't cost a bundle, Tommi's Bistro is a good bet.  It is, of course, in Jettingen and right now the hours are limited.  Tommi's is very casual and reasonably priced.  The service is good, but it's not impeccable like it is at Christophorus.

So yeah... both places are excellent in different ways.  Christophorus is where you go to celebrate or impress someone.  Tommi's is where you go when you feel carnivorous, especially if you want to hear live music (when it's being offered).  And I would rank both over [M]eatery, which is good, but not that good... and not that much less expensive than Christophorus, either.

We really had a wonderful time at Christophorus.  We left feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.  It was an expensive meal, but we felt it was worth what we paid.  I think we will be back, but maybe not for a few months.

We will soon leave for Austria, with a final destination of Vicenza, Italy.  I plan to be blogging up a storm during our trip.  I'm proud to say, my travel blog will be about travel again, at least temporarily.

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