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May 5, 2008 04:03 AM

Berlin, Oderquelle -- I just don't get it....

So I've been there twice now, within a couple of weeks. While the service is excellent and the location... well, nice, but nothing to write home about, I really have trouble understanding what people find so amazing about the food.

Maybe I've ordered the 'wrong' stuff so far, but --- the first time around, I got some asparagus, new potatoes, and smoked ham. The asparagus was more than a bit al dente, rather quite underdone. Oh well.

Then yesterday, I went back with a friend -- we each ordered the herbed cream soup with croûtons, which, interestingly enough, included fried gooseliver in the English translation of the menu. The soup arrived, and halfway through it occurred to us that, besides croûtons, there was nothing else in the soup. When the waitress came by, we asked about it, she went back and checked the menu (presumably only the German description RIGHT ABOVE the English one), and said "no, just croûtons."

How utterly strange. We then shared a flammekuchen which was alright, but also not really deserving of the raves I have read about the food served there.

I might give it 'one last chance' this week, but so far, I am baffled.

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  1. Tell you the truth? I think that anything that is in P/Berg gets already some extra trendiness points with some reviewers. I think it is a good German restaurant, but not something I would have travelled from (say) Charlottenburg to eat in. I also think that Da Bird, while being good, is not that much of a broohooha, but that's just me.

    3 Replies
    1. re: polyg

      See, I think I had the best burger of my life (including burgers in the US) at The Bird.... I know a lot of Americans who think it's ludicrous to pay 10 or 11 Euro for a burger, but it's unbelievable quality. If they want to get the $1 menu at McDee's instead, I'm certainly not holding them back.

      But a place that grinds their daily bought Argentinian steaks every couple hours or so fresh for the patties is going to be better quality, and worth its price imo.

      And I'm not one to get super-excited about burgers. This place makes me crave one.

      1. re: linguafood

        Oh, I am not complaining about the price. I actually have no idea what I was ranting about. I had a bit of arrogant service last time that I was there, I think; and I must admit that the meat was good (I mean: excellent) but I was with a sulky person I chose until death do us part, who said he's not coming back till they enforce the anti-smoking laws. I later googled and found it was a common problem with the Bird, but isn't it with most or many restaurants in Berlin? If it is not a big restaurant (which is a bit alienating in many cases and gives the feeling of a dining hall) and not an Asian one (which is why I like Asian food so much?), there's smoking...

        1. re: polyg

          This reply is bound to be deleted, because this board, or any on CH, is not the place to discuss the state of the "smoking ban" in Germany. You'll have to wait until July 1 until anyone even gets fined for breaking this supposed law... most restaurants do adhere to the ban, tho, at least in my admittedly short experience these last 3 weeks ----

          I am particularly surprised that the Bird would still allow smoking. It's owned by two NYC dudes, after all....

    2. I hope that you just made poor choices. I was there a while back and had a memorable experience. I found the food very good - not fancy, but just well conceived and well preppared. I was, at the time, a recently reformed smoker, and had to share a table with two un-reformed smokers. It was more my problem than theirs.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bropaul

        I went there 4 times now, first two times were disappointing, the last two excellent. 2:2 Oderquelle vs. Oderquelle....

        1. re: linguafood

          I've always had good to great meals at the Oderquelle. I think that it has some of the best fresh, local German food for the price point. I love that the menu is never the same. Sometimes the dessert misses the mark (chocolate mousse sitting in a pool of melon soup was awful) which is sad because there is usually only one on the menu. This is a great place to take the unadventurous Schwegereltern.

          The hollandaise for the spargel is decent too, way better than the broken, heavily alcoholic crap I got at Borchardt recently, but not nearly as perfect as E.T.A. Hoffman's fluffy, buttery dreamy orgasm on a plate. For one last go at spargel season I would definitely hit that again (with the best schwarzwalder shinken and truffled boiled ham). Oh, new topic, maybe...

      2. I've lived for many years, like, right around the corner from the Oderquelle and I never knew it was anything other than the usual bar-restaurant until I stumbled on this forum just now. Looks like I'll have to check it out!

        Meanwhile, we celebrated our 26th anniversary at Restaurant Maxwell the other day and once again I thought it was well worth walking down the hill to Bergstrasse for. ( Most of the time we end up going for Thai at Kamala on Oranienburger Str. which is the best Thai I've ever had outside of Bangkok. Or just a nan pizza at Gordon W's imbiss on Kastanienallee. (Gordon is a Canadian food artist ie a conceptual artist whose artistic expression involves the preparation of food. No kidding.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: bill2p

          Well, since I posted that over one year ago I've dined a couple times at the Oderquelle. I've never found it to be anything more than reasonably good. Nice but not wonderful. Certainly nothing I'd go across town to if it weren't in my neighbourhood. By the way, further up Oderburger Strasse, a new Turkish place has opened which is good value, tasty dishes. There's a new French restaurant a couple doors down from the O'quelle, which we've yet to try. On Oderburger, Indian Village has good, solid Indian cuisine at low prices. But avoid both "Thai" places, especially the one on the corner with Eberswalder Strasse.

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