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Like the dish from which it takes its name, the Kaiserslautern-area eatery Flammkuchen Hütte offers a deceptively rich experience.

You’ll find it on a nondescript side road in the humble village of Mehlingen, Germany, just a few minutes northeast of Kaiserslautern and adjacent to Sembach. The eatery is an awkward fit in its workmanlike neighborhood, surrounded by boxy warehouses and light industry.

To its credit, however, Flammkuchen Hütte transcends its mundane setting to carve out a niche of classic European charm. The restaurant’s wooden exterior, abundant greenery and welcoming country motif make it pop out from its plain surroundings, luring visitors to its doors like the witch’s house of “Hansel and Gretel.”

That impression gets stronger upon entering, as you’re greeted at the door by a creepily realistic life-size figure of an elderly barmaid.

Past that initial jolt, however, the depth of Flammkuchen Hütte’s appeal begins to reveal itself.

Like many European eateries, the Hütte is more expansive inside than it appears from the street.

The restaurant offers two distinct settings. The first is the interior dining room, a cool, shaded space adorned with dark wooden tables and intriguing artifacts displayed around a full bar. The room is ideal for diners seeking respite from rain or overbearing sun.

If the weather is agreeable, however, you’ll want to journey through the dining room to the outdoor Biergarten. The enclosed courtyard is designed for the leisurely intake of food and alcohol, particularly beer, of course. Flammkuchen Hütte nails the execution of the familiar attraction, as a stunning sandstone wall cradles a cozy, comfortable patio infused with the same mix of the classic and quirky found inside.

With your surroundings sufficiently admired, it’s time to look at the menu.

Flammkuchen is a simple and traditional French and German dish: dough topped with a subtly sour white cheese spread, sliced onions and small, baconlike chunks of pork and cooked into a thin and crispy rectangle. That alone provides a satisfying meal. But at Flammkuchen Hütte, that is only a template to build upon.

The list of available toppings is long and diverse. Tangy yellow, green and red peppers. Mushrooms. Fresh salmon. Long, succulent strips of pork loin, the choice of which effectively piles a second entree atop an already substantial meal. For dessert, try the same toasty dough smothered in apple, cinnamon and almonds or a number of other fruity and sweet spreads.

The menu extends beyond its namesake dish, particularly with a compelling selection of salads. But I’ve learned a valuable lesson in my years of dining: If the restaurant is named after a food, order that food.

At Flammkuchen Hütte, have the Flammkuchen.

broome.gregory@stripes.com Twitter: @broomestripes

FLAMMKUCHEN HÜTTEAddress: An der Heide 3, Mehlingen.

Directions: From Autobahn 6, take the Kaiserslautern East exit and follow signs to Mehlingen. Proceed down L395/L401 into Mehlingen and almost out the other side of the village. Take a left across the convoluted intersection of Kaiserstrasse and Am Wasserturm, then note the immediate sign to Flammkuchen Hütte.

Hours: Lunch is served from noon-2 p.m.; dinner from 6-11 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The restaurant is open straight through from noon to 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

Prices: 7-12 euros per entree.

Attire: Casual.

Reservations: Accepted but not required.

Menu in English: Yes.

— Gregory Broome

Migrated

Stripes in 7



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