An Unforgettable Culinary Adventure at Söl'ring Hof Sylt
|Söl'ring Hof Sylt|
The stars designating fine restaurants, which Michelin so freely passes out in France, are hard to come by in Germany. Such was never more apparent than during a dinner at the two-star Söl'ring Hof that came as near to perfection as any in this writer's experience. Johannes King's busy kitchen sends forth plate after plate of inventive, intriguing, and delicious food. In fact, it is difficult to find fault anywhere in the Söl'ring experience: welcome, service, atmosphere, wine offerings, or presentation. It causes one to wonder what a restaurant must do to merit that third star.
Perhaps the setting is too straightforward for Michelin. Two brightly-lit, adjoining dining rooms with dark plank floors, pale yellow walls, and cream-colored ceilings with recessed halogen lights are inviting and comfortable but hardly opulent. Simple, but solid chairs attend a handful of well-spaced tables. A few gently-arched French doors open to a terrace overlooking sand and sea and let in the light of summer evening. The room nearest the open kitchen is our pick as it affords of a view of the sometimes frenetic process of preparing and serving, in a relatively short period of time, a series of extraordinary, complicated dishes for 40 or 50 people who await them with the highest of expectations.
It must be noted that those fortunate enough to find themselves among those 40-50 diners, should care deeply about truly fine cuisine and be willing to pay for it. The five-course, Desgustations-Menü—which is supplemented by the occasional small "surprise" from the kitchen—is €115. Suggested wines by the glass for each course are in the €7-€14 range. A four-course seafood menu is €98, and one featuring products from the island is €88.
A la carte dining is also possible. Six Sylt oysters cost €18, a grilled lobster claw with a piquant, tomato sauce over couscous is €34, and venison filet á la Rössini, topped with silky goose liver and an earthy truffle-based sauce, is €42. Entrecôte of Australian Wagyu beef (similar to Kobe beef) for two is €52 per person.
Space does not permit a description of our long evening of superb dining, but among the most notable in a series of taste explosions included: three pink veal slices in a parsley butter sauce over bite-size onion ravioli, all scattered with freshly sautéed pfefferlingen (mushrooms); a perfect, shell-less lobster claw glistening in butter; a lamb dish with four different cuts of meat including a chop with a silver handle attached to the bone; corn and ginger ice cream; and, at the start of the meal, a kitchen surprise of a dozen tiny pastry cones with various fillings of cheeses, chopped olives, bits of sauced fish and vegetables, all exquisitely taste intensive.
Dinner at Söl'ring is one of the two best meals (the other being L'Ermitage at Vufflen-Le-Château) in the now 19-year history of Gemütlichkeit. It's easy for a couple to spend $250-plus on dinner-without beverages.
Rating: Quality 19/20, Value N/A