Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zurich: Kronenhalle Restaurant

We lived around the block from the Kronenhalle Restaurant in Zurich for about seven years, but although we visited the bar a few times, we never ate at the restaurant. Last week we took the plunge (well, actually, we were invited).

The Kronenhalle is one of Zurich's most famous restaurants. It was a meeting place for artists including James Joyce and Marc Chagall. Rumor has it that some artists paid for their meals in pictures and the owners were collectors. Consequently, the restaurant and bar are filled with excellent art.

The Kronenhalle is classic. Waiters in white, an elegantly dressed Maître d' and assistants in black with white aprons. One funny thing, especially if you are not from Zurich, is that they serve Burli rolls (I describe them here). These rolls are extremely crusty and, as you can see from the photo above, leave crumbs all over the white starched table cloth; but they are classic in Zurich.

We started with celery-chestnut cream soup and nussli salad (lambs' ear). The nussli salad was served with a nice french cream dressing; it's very popular in Switzerland. Both starters were excellent.

For our main courses my wife and I shared the rack of lamb for two and our companions shared the Chateaubriand for two. Both dishes were presented to the table, then taken to a carving station for plating.

They use an antique plate heating device that's a bit scary to see in operation, but elegant. The meal is served in two settings with fresh plates for the second helping. The meat and side dishes were cooked perfectly. We all ordered the profiteroles for dessert and they were also quite fine.

Since we were guests I can't say what the whole meal cost, but the prices, while high, are not significantly more expensive than in other Zurich restaurants especially considering the experience. The Maître d' said that the Zürcher Geschnetzeltes are the house speciality and they looked quite good. As a comparison Zürcher Geschnetzeltes cost 54 CHF at Kronenhalle versus about 40 CHF in many other restaurants.

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