Monday, January 11, 2010

Cafe Mozart

The night of the ESOTC (again, that's the Epic Snowstorm of the Century - read here) we had tickets to the Kennedy Center to see the symphony with our friends. Due to the terrible road conditions, the Kennedy Center canceled the performance. Instead of the symphony, we played Beatles Rock Band at our house (see our post on it here). Not quite Handel's Messiah, but we had a good time! Before the rockfest ensued, however, we trudged through the unplowed sidewalks to Cafe Mozart in search of tummy-warming grub.

Cafe Mozart is located at the back of a German deli on H Street NW. Hidden behind shelves of German food is a quaint little restaurant. From the street, you'd never know it was there.

Once inside Cafe Mozart, you'll feel as if you're dining in your German grandma's house (I don't have a German grandma, but I'm pretty certain that if I did, her house would look like this).

This was my first German restaurant experience, so I felt a bit like a fish out of water. Lucky for us, our friends had recently returned from their honeymoon in Germany, and they pointed us in the direction of some tasty dishes and excellent (and large!) beers. We also asked the waitress for her suggestions and she recommended the Sausage Sampler. It included bite-sized cuts of different German sausages served with potato salad and red cabbage. It was like a tasty tour of a Germany on a plate... a very dense, filling plate.

B took another one of the waitress' recommendations and tried the Rahm Schnitzel (sauteed veal in champignon cream sauce) served with spaetzli and potato pancakes. While the whole dish was tasty, B raved about the potato pancakes.

Overall, the meal was most memorable for the cozy setting and the generous portions of warm comfort food. According to their website, they have live music (piano and accordion) every night. Like at the Kennedy Center, the snowstorm must have kept the musicians away from Cafe Mozart because we didn't get to experience the lively sounds of Germany.

Second Thoughts From B

When I was in grad school, I was able to travel to Munich during Oktoberfest for a scientific workshop. Needless to say, I had my fair share of authentic German food. For those who haven't been or who long to return, Cafe Mozart is a pretty good alternative. The food is true to its roots; hearty, flavorful, and generally, not the most aesthetically pleasing.

Cafe Mozart itself feels like one of those insider clubs hidden behind a secret door. You don't exactly have to exchange an egg for directions
(random 90210 reference anyone?), but like J said, you'd never know there is a restaurant in the back. Maybe it's just me, but especially when you're new to a city, it feels good to be "in the know" when it comes to some of DC's literally hidden gems.

And Cafe Mozart is a gem. It is unashamed to be the counterpoint to so many of the fancy, upscale restaurants throughout downtown that feature the chef's modern take on organic fusion blah, blah, blah... Don't get me wrong, I love all of those places that are half restaurant and half artist's studio. But I also love a place that is good at what it does and makes no apologies for it.

Speaking of doing things well, let's talk about those potato pancakes. While not Jewish, I was raised in a community that had a lot of Jewish families and some took me under their wing. And for the last 20 years or so, I thought that the best latkes by far (and matzo ball soup) were made by a mother in my hometown. I'd never tasted anything that came close until now. Perfect texture, perfect flavor, and perfect for sopping up all the sauce on my plate.

So for those of you who crave authentic German food, head down to Cafe Mozart. It might just put you in a state of U4EA (that's euphoria for you non-West Beverly kids).
Cafe Mozart Restaurant on Urbanspoon


blunoz said...

Aw, man! I'm sorry you missed the Messiah performance. You missed an awesome triangle player :-) (see this post). I remember seeing in the news the next day that the symphony was canceled due to the snow, and I said to myself, "Self, that sure sucks for those people. I'm sure glad we went last night."

Alix said...

My favorite part of Cafe Mozart: my dish didn't come with sauerkraut! Had enough of that to last the rest of my marriage (i.e. forever)! The rabbit was very good though.

I'm sure M appreciated the 9-0 references, B, but they went wayyy over my head.

Matt said...

Oh, I get the 9-0 references.