Friday, February 8, 2013

Mazedonien: ich wusste es schon

Why a German restaurant pretending to be an Italian restaurant is even bothering to call itself Restaurant Macedonia is beyond me. I'm not a total idiot and I do bring my low expectation every time I go out in this city, but I felt I couldn't skip Macedonia because I sort of skipped Luxembourg and have major guilt. In my defense Alt Luxembourg doesn't make any claims to serve actual Luxembourgian food, although from what I gather, Luxembourgian cuisine is sort of a Franco-German mishmash, so who knows? The website doesn't explain why it's called that, but I think it may have to do with a previous use for the building that now houses the restaurant. Anyway, it's expensive and apparently was once a very well-regarded spot, back when Charlottenburg was trendy...but the odds of it actually being good enough to justify the prices, just seemed too slim. Sorry.
I probably would have also passed Macedonia by if it wasn't mere feet from the Lichterfelde West S-Bahn station, which I had to go by anyway. I popped in for lunch and it was fine. Not the worst meal I've had this week. The place is run by actual Macedonians, speaking what I presume was Macedonian (it certainly wasn't German or Italian) to each other, the waitress was having her lunch while I had mine - a big chunk of feta, a fried egg, a bunch of olives and a hunk of bread. I was tempted to ask if I could have what she had, but decided to stick to the menu, most of which is Italian: the standard pasta dishes, pizzas, involtini and saltimboca, etc. Oddly, all the specials of the day were German: pork roast with potatoes and red cabbage and Koenigsberger Klopse (a classic dish of meatballs in a creamy caper sauce) and literally all the other customers, who I might add were a good 30+ years older than me, were eating the German specials. Ever the rebel, I stuck to the small Macedonian portion of the menu, your standard Balkan options: cevapcici (old friend), kebab-type things served with rice, etc. Not so much in the mood for cheap meat, I ordered a Macedonian bean dish, gravce tavce, which I later learned is the Macedonian national dish. It's basically a white bean stew, apparently with as many variations as there are Macedonian housewives. At Restaurant Macedonia they use gigante beans, cooked in a tomato-y sauce with peppers and onions, warmed under the broiler with sprinkling of feta cheese. It's a simple dish and it wasn't half bad, though it was over-salted. Not something I would trek across town for by any means, but not a horrible lunch on a snowy winter day. I can't help but wish the Macedonians at Restaurant Macedonia were pushing their cuisine a bit more. It's not as if Berlin needs another mediocre Italian or German restaurant, but judging by the elderly clientele ordering plates and plates of Koenigsberger Klopse, I guess they've concluded that gravce tavce and cevapcici alone don't pay the bills. Restaurant Macedonia Hans-Sachs-Strasse 4f

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