BERLIN, Germany –Brasserie Desbrosses, in Berlin, is the restaurant of the German capital’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. At this restaurant, the main principle is to combine the locavore foodie trend with the ambiance of a classic French brasserie.
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All the ingredients used at Brasserie Desbrosses are local, and a map showing where each of the producers with which the restaurant does business is proudly displayed at the restaurant’s entrance.
On the flipside, one of the walls of the restaurant comes from an actual 19th century French brasserie, found, unmounted, moved, installed and restored by the Ritz, to provide this recently constructed hotel with an authentic brasserie feel.
If the dining room is enormous and has dozens of tables, the same can be said about the patio. This restaurant has so many tables that it’s easy to imagine the puzzle that the staff scheduling probably is!
Brasserie Desbrosses : The Meal
Might as well come out and say it off the bat: I was positively surprised by the meal at the Brasserie Desbrosses. Often, this type of restaurant offers the classics and nothing else. The mandatory dishes: carpaccio, chicken-tomato salad, chocolate fondant. It’s not the case at Brasserie Desbrosses and the chef does innovate.
That being said, innovation has certain risks.
The first dish is simply delicious.
In a small cast-iron caquelon, a stew of oxtail, beef, green beans, onions, carrots. In a beef bone that’s been cleaned and emptied, a good fistful of fresh grated horseradish. Un a cast-iron tea pot, an oxtail bouillon. At service, the waiter pours the broth in the caquelon.
The seasoning is perfect; the broth is almost clear; it’s so full of collagen that my lips stick together when I lick them; the beef stew is exactly how it should be. And I love fresh horseradish, especially with beef! The presentation and plating is elegant and the service is ideal. Impressive!
The second dish is a combination of asparagus, chicken breast and strawberries. This time around, though, I’m clearly not a fan. An espuma is used as a vinaigrette to a disorganised salad which combines tastes that don’t play nice together. The sweet side of the balsamic dash that covers the side of the plate only exacerbates the supersweet berries. The sweetness overtakes the taste of the chicken, which is a shame since it’s perfectly cooked. The texture of chicken, the taste of strawberries. Not for me. When I was saying that innovation is a risky affair…
Then, for dessert, a classic among classics: crêpe Suzette, made tableside, by the waiter, on a guéridon. With a bit too much alcohol in the pan, to clearly make a show if it all. Not too sweet, the taste of alcohol almost gone, the ice cream ball perfectly elegant, and orange supremes ideally cut and plated. Ideal!
Since it’s an elegant restaurant but a giant dining room, since it follows trends and has a couple of rather affordable items on the menu, since its chef takes techniques from abroad and applies them to local ingredients, and since the restaurant has enough room to give intimacy to the people who need it, I believe this place is ideal for business lunches.
Ritz-Carlton, Potsdamer Platz 3, 10785 Berlin, Germany