If the main two-star Restaurant Bareiss is formal, expensive, and international, the Dorfstuben is cozy, rustic, and unabashedly regional—not to mention a lot cheaper, and with the same excellent service and ingredients. In fact, I could argue that for the first-time visitor to the Black Forest, the Dorfstuben is the more interesting of the two restaurants. It feels like a 19th century forest cabin. One dining room is dominated by a huge green tiled fireplace and dozens of cuckoo clocks, the other by a portrait of a forest ranger and mounted hunting trophies. Iron chandeliers hung with fresh green wreaths hover low over the wooden tables, adding to the warm glow.
The food is honest, hearty, and nicely prepared without the least concession to international tastes, dietary concerns, or nouvelle cuisine. When I asked for a small portion of rich stewed lentils with sausages and onion marmalade (the menu says all dishes can be served in smaller amounts), they brought enough to feed a regiment (€9.50). The homemade bread was fabulous served with sweet farm butter, lard, cream cheese, and raw radishes. The trout was local, wild, and lovingly cold-smoked. It came with a horseradish mousse with trout roe and sliced hard-boiled eggs for €7.90. The plate of high-quality regional sliced cold cuts also came with a small side salad for €9.50. The Murghtal grass-fed beef (€19.20), from the same grazing herd we had seen on the farm, fell short of perfection, being undersalted and overcooked. The beef itself is soft and very delicate and pale, without that big fatty flavor of American corn-fed beef. It was roasted and smothered in a thick blanket of onions and gravy, with a Maultaschen pasta pocket, salad, and handmade Spätzle on the side.
The stuffed veal breast (€13.60) was much better, being full of flavor from its tasty ground meat filling. A Swabian potato and green salad were the accompaniments. But the dish to die for was the thick rings of apples fried like fritters, served on a cobweb of vanilla and raspberry sauces. I think this was the best Swabian meal we had the entire trip.—Lydia Itoi
Rating: Quality 18/20, Value 17/20