My wife and I discovered an authentic German experience at the Zum Uerige restaurant and brewery in the Altstadt (Old Town) Düsseldorf, Germany.
Entering the establishment, we quickly discovered that you seat yourself at one of the many communal dining tables. Glancing around at the other tables, we observed that everyone had the same altbier and so we ordered a couple of glasses to start. When the beer was served, we were given two cardboard coasters. Our server drew two tally marks on one of the coasters.
Ordering food was somewhat challenging because the menu was in German. It didn’t help that our server didn’t speak English either. We simply used common sense and pointed to our selections on the menu. We saw ‘gouda auf brot mit butter’ and correctly guessed what it was: gouda on bread with butter. I refrained from ordering the platte dishes as they were 32 and 54 euros (or $42 and $70 US dollars respectively).
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, this is not the place to visit. Meat and beer is the dominant theme at Zum Uerige. In fact while we were in Germany, it seemed like very little attention was paid to vegetables and salads. While you can find non-meat dishes, you’d have to veer off of standard German cuisine.
Beer is poured using the old fashion way: with gravity. The barrel is hoisted by two people and mounted at the bar. They make a huge deal out of rolling the barrel on the floor and ceremoniously mounting it. Zum Uerige goes through a lot of beer and in fact, while we were there, they had to mount two barrels. I’d have to say that their altbier was my favorite. In fact, when I told the server that it was the best altbier, he surprised me by saying in English, “I know”.
Despite all of the dishes appearing to be quite ordinary, I was delighted by the fact that everything tasted really fresh. In fact, we had gotten used to skinless hot dogs and it was a delight to bite into a frankfurter to get that nice ‘snap’’ and release of flavor. The potato salad was mayonnaise-based versus vinegar and was served with sliced hard boiled eggs.
The last dish was schweinskopfsülze, leberwurst and mett. I confirmed that leberwurst was indeed liverwurst. Schweinskopfsülze was formed pork with a gelatin surrounding it. After I returned home, I later found out it was “pig’s head”. Mett appeared to be raw pork and figuring that I would do as the Roman’s do, I ate that as well. Everything was surprisingly tasty.
Fortunately, they served beer in what seemed like 12 oz glasses. With the foamy head on top, it was approximately 10 oz. As we finished one, they rapidly replaced the empty with a full glass and marked my coaster with another tally mark. Even before the glass was empty, they would replace it again. We finally made hand signals indicating that we’d had enough.
- Zum Uerige
- Berger Str. 1, D-40213 Dusseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany (Altstadt)