An unconventional place to have a Valentine’s Day date – at a traditional German restaurant along Schweizer Straße known as Zum Gemalten Haus.
Beautiful old paintings of Frankfurt adorned the walls of the restaurant which had a lively, middle-aged crowd drinking Apfelwein merrily.
One glance and I could tell we were the only couple out on a date night. It didn’t bother me though as I enjoy watching the Germans get lighthearted and gleeful. Situations like that remind me that they really aren’t as miserable as expats make them out to be.
Like any good, traditional German restaurant in Frankfurt, this place also serves Apfelwein which Daniel had.
Source: Zum Gemalten Haus
Unlike other German restaurants, Zum Gemalten Haus doesn’t serve Schnitzel nor a wicked Schweinhaxen. So we decided on ordering “Rippchen mit Kraut und Brot” which translates to “Pork rib with Sauerkraut and Bread”. This was what we were served.
I was dumbfounded. I imagined my jaw dropped, eyes nearly popped out.
Sheepishly, I asked Daniel, “Is this raw pork? This can’t be pork ribs, can it?”
I was careful to ensure that the suited up German man sat next to me couldn’t hear me.
To which he replied unconfidently, “They can’t possibly serve raw pork and look, there’s a big bone.”
I looked around me and almost all the patrons were having the same dish. However could I trust a group of old folks intoxicated at 7pm? So, I sent the picture of the rippchen to my German friend who confirmed that it was how it should look like, and in fact looks good! Phew!!!
Common sense led me to believe that a traditional German meal will NOT be served raw. As the tender meat came easily off the bone (imagine stewed meat), it seemed safe to us to assume that it was cooked. Darn phone didn’t have good reception in the restaurant for me to google.
My post-dinner research revealed to me that the rippchen was cured (possibly with pink salt) which made it look bright pink. Gosh, I have no idea how to cure meat so I could be very wrong. However, the pork was definitely cooked through and safe to eat. I suppose it’s similar to American cured ham? On hindsight, it intrigues me that we’re happy to have salami and pinkish looking ham slices in our sandwiches but were shocked to see a huge slab of pinkish pork rib on our dinner plates.
This dish was by leaps and bounds the most German dish we’ve had. It’s not Schnitzel, Schweinhaxen or even that bloody black pudding I accidentally had and puked out a few years back. One massive slab of meat on sauerkraut and that was it. It made me wonder if it serves any nostalgic purpose to the folks at the restaurant. In contrast to the typical fried German dishes, the rippchen and sauerkraut were rather mild which was much to my liking. For the first time I didn’t feel like I was downing salt at a German restaurant. Despite it being a huge slab of meat, it was surprisingly tender and succulent. The waiter suggested to have some mustard to go with it and he was right, it was heavenly!
However, me being me, I can never finish a big piece of meat. If only they did Baby Rippchen!!!
If you’re ever in Frankfurt and want to have something traditional but not oily, why not order a German rippchen?
Note: It is common practice to share a table at a traditional German restaurant like this. I think this is important to highlight because I’ve seen negative reviews from people who are unaware of this norm. One’s lack of awareness shouldn’t be used as the true reflection of perfectly good restaurants.