After Hours: This German greasy spoon won’t disappoint
January 22, 2009
WEINHEIM, Germany — If ever you get a chance to travel to Rochester, N.Y., and get a hankering for some greasy chow, stop by Nick Tahou Hots. You won’t regret it.
Likewise, if you’re a glutton for greasy grub and happen upon Weinheim, Germany, hit up Gasthaus Finkenburg.
This German version of a greasy spoon doesn’t just stray from the American version, but sets out its own path with cheap and tasty variations of Palatinate specialties.
Saumagen, or sow’s stomach, is tops on the menu. Getting past the idea of a sausage-like mix of meat, vegetables and herbs boiled in a pig’s stomach, which is then sliced and fried until crispy, might take a bit of cerebral gymnastics, but it’s worth it.
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl — himself a Palatine — fed saumagen to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, and they came out of it all right. If Kohl took them to Finkenburg for this local specialty, they surely didn’t go away hungry.
If that’s a little too risque for your taste, order up a plate of schnitzel and potatoes, and you’ll soon find yourself faced with two giant fried slabs of meat and a pile of pan-fried starch slathered in gravy, wondering if your life insurance payments are up to date. The price for this fatty feast? Just a shade over 8 euro.
If you want to go all-out and have with you a small fortune in antacids and a devil-may-care indifference to cholesterol, try the Pfalzer Teller, a plate piled high with saumagen, leberknödel (liver dumplings), bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Enjoy all this in traditional decor — dark wood walls and ceilings decked out with antique clocks, tools and housewares, as well as old photos and pre-war memorabilia.
Gasthaus FinkenburgWeinheim, Germany
Hours: Opens at 4 p.m. daily; food starts at 5 p.m.
Specialties: Though it’s in Baden-Württemberg, it features dishes from the Pfalz. Main courses start at 5 euro and go up to 11 euro. Sides run between 2 euro and 2.30 euro.
Drinks: Irish and German beer (4 euro a pint), English cider (.3 liters for 2.50 euro), a variety of wines (2.90 to 3.40 euro per glass), as well as nonalcoholic standards such as soda and water. Dress: casual.
Clientele: Mostly German, mostly middle-aged and beyond.
Directions: Hauptstrasse 165, Weinheim, Germany, 69469. From Heidelberg take the A5 toward Frankfurt. From Mannheim take the A659 East toward Weinheim. Get off the A5 at Weinheim. The exit brings you briefly onto the A659, which changes to the B38. At the first light take a right onto Mannheimer Strasse. Take this about 1.5 miles and turn right onto Bahnhofstrasse. Turn right about a half-mile later onto Grundelbachstrasse, and Gasthaus Finkenburg is about a quarter mile down the road on the right.