Parlament

Rathausmarkt 1 – 20095 Hamburg, Germany • +49 40 70383399 • parlament-hamburg.de

Located in one of the coolest, most stunning and historical buildings in Hamburg, Parliament is a wow on the eyes from approach to table (pictured). And that’s about the only nice thing I have to say. The service is atrocious and about as attentive as a sloth in a coma.

 

And speaking of lifeless things, the food is flavorless. Worst schnitzel I’ve ever had. The potato salad that it comes with was slightly better, but it came about 30 minutes later, so to say that it came “with” the schnitzel is being generous. The other it ACTUALLY didn’t come with is the lingonberry jam. I had to ask for it special. And trust me, it needed it. Sad day when Milwaukee bests Germany at Schnitzel.

 

On the plus side, the hefeweizen beer was very tall and very good. Sadly not tall enough or good enough to get me so drunk that I didn’t care about the fact that a calf was tortured for nothing.

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Mari Vanna

41 E 20th St. New York, NY 10003(212) 777-1955marivanna.ru/ny

5-Mari-Vanna-Mezzanine-Level-by-Travis-Vaughn-1024x683

The name alone brings a smile to my face because it sounds a lot like marijuana. The other smile inducer is the décor, dressed like a movie set plucked right out of the 1920’s in post World War I Russia. From the chairs to the plates to the distressed walls and the copper kettle sink in the bathroom, you feel as if you’ve actually just done the Time Warp again.

It’s just a jump to the left. And then a step to the right. Sorry. Getting very sidetracked in a Rocky Horror kinda way. So back on topic, the décor somehow comes off authentic and not as gimmick, partly because it’s very well done and partly because the employees are actually Russian and I want to believe they wouldn’t dare work at a place that turned their culture into a caricature.

The food is also pretty authentic, for better or for worse, because it’s not exactly the most decadent cuisine, most dishes being born out of a need to pack on the pounds to keep warm, or out of poverty-stricken means to survive. This is excluding the caviar, of course.

Starting with the bread, it is served with a customary beet and green onion, along with coarse sea salt, which you are supposed to drag the root veggies through before eating. I took a pass and opted for the bread, because if it’s one thing Russians do well, it’s pain (2 points for the double entendre).

For starters we went with another classic, the Olivier Salad, made with roasted vegetables, bologna and mayonnaise. It was just okay, tasting more or less like potato salad, to be honest. This was then followed by the pickled herring, which was also a bit underwhelming, to be honest. I’ve had much better at some of the Kosher Delis in the city, not to mention the Romanian ones.

But the best starter- no, the best dish in totality, was by far the Borsh. So rich and hearty, the beets were like meat, and the broth like the sweet blood of Sookie Stackhouse. In other words, it’s most definitely an Ultimate.

On the other end of the spectrum, the most disappointing dish of all was the much touted Stroganoff, only offered as chicken instead of beef, which made the dish horribly bland, the chicken, rice and sauce all tasting like shades of the same. Not sure what the Yelpers are thinking on this one, but this strogan was off. So off, in fact, that I actually preferred the meat stuffed dumplings with sour cream. Nothing spectacular, but they reminded me a little bit of the Turkish dish manti, granted they are probably closer to a perogie than anything, in a good way.

The tally is mixed on this one, as you can see, but I’m leaning to the low side because of the slow service and a waiter who swooned about everything on the menu as if it were made with gold. I hate that.

2 teeth

 

The Ultimate Schnitzel

chicken-schnitzel

The Rumpus Room – Milwaukee, WI

Truth be told, I tend to find the high water mark for schnitzel rather low. I mean, even great schnitzel is only just “good” by comparison to so many other dishes I’d rather have. But that was until I ate at the Rumpus Room. They showed me the light. And this is how they did it.

First, they start with a pork-based schnitzel as opposed to veal, which I don’t think made the difference and if anything added to the level of difficulty, because veal usually trumps pork in my book. But I do believe it is local, hormone/antibiotic free pork, which does make a difference.

Then, they obviously bread and fry the thing, but the breading they use seems to be pretty standard as schnitzels go. What isn’t standard is how moist it turns out. And how they top it, with a mound of spicy arugula, a local aged gouda and a farm fresh, sunny-side egg, all culminating in a perfect storm of schnitzel bliss.

Edi & The Wolf – New York, NY

What makes this schnitzel sing isn’t the schnitzel itself, it’s the accoutrements that surround it. A sweet lingonberry jam, a refreshing cucumber slaw and a creamy, mustardy potato salad that when paired with a bite of the heritage pig schnitzel or any sub-combination thereof, you are met with a complexity of flavors often woefully absent from the realm of schnitzel.

Edi & The Wolf

102 Ave C New York, NY 10009 • (212) 598-1040 ediandthewolf.com

edi

Probably the second best Schnitzel I’ve ever had. Mostly because of its accompaniments. The jam, the cucumber slaw and potato salad are all on point. The spaetzle, on the other hand, was rather bland comparatively. That said, one of the non-German dishes was very strong. The snapper was delish- almost like something you’d expect to be served at Nobu.

And last but not least, the decor- the true star of Edi. It’s Edward Scissorhands meets barn chic. Very creepy cool. For example, the flower arrangement at our table was in an old boot.

Definitely worth the change of pace.

3 teeth