Rutz, acknowledged as one of Berlin’s finest restaurants, is a game of two halves.
Hit the convivial wine bar presided over by some of the city’s most knowledgeable sommeliers, gaze upon the meaty treats passing by and you will probably want to stay all night. However, the star of the show is a gastronomic restaurant upstairs which has won chef Marco Muller two Michelin stars.
Entry being through the bar on the ground floor of a building in a slightly edgy neighbourhood where Lars Rutz made a success of luring diners in 2001, I spent an hour sampling some excellent German wines I would never have discovered without an informed introduction. Of those private-labelled for Rutz, an unfiltered Clemensbusch riesling made a particularly lively aperitif.
The plan was to save room for the award-winning dishes upstairs, but a plate of house-cured ham and deer salami with pickles and horseradish was irresistible, and the excellent fine-minced steak tartare one of the best ever tasted. I got the feeling I was personally disappointing the waiter by not being a fan of tripe or black pudding, two specialities on a menu which bills itself as “the rescue of the German cuisine”, but the black pudding bread with homemade butter was more than palatable – a delight.
Mains include typically hearty Teutonic favourites like ox shoulder and roast duck, but it would be a shame to miss out on mangalitza pork ribs from the world’s tastiest pigs, and five-week dry-aged rib-eye is available for those who don’t mind the fact Rutz will not serve it rare. Muller’s gastronomic influence is most obvious when you get to the dessert section of the menu- sour cherries with oxalis ice-cream, miso and molasses foam, anyone?
For many people, Rutz Weinbar’s fair prices, buzzy atmosphere and comfortable chairs would be reason enough to stay on the ground floor, but gastronomes will be curious to taste the food for which Muller has held Michelin stars for the past 10 years.
The upstairs restaurant is hushed and elegant, with tables spaced widely apart, and reverent, rather than jovial, servers. Muller’s dishes are a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds, and although already well-fed, I did manage a standout dish of shelled razor clams and mussels dressed with caviar and roe, as well as a minimal dessert. While the menu – €149 or €189, depending on whether you go for six or nine “experiences” – changes, Muller seems particularly fond of certain ingredients – mussels, elderflower, plums and that dry-aged beef. By comparison, the Weinbar mains are cracking value, with several choices below €20, including a one-euro donation for each portion served to the Berlin food bank.
Tell me more about Rutz Weinbar and Restaurant
8 Chauseestrasse, 10115 Berlin
Tel: +49 30 2462 8760