, West Virginia
June 3, 2003
The room was crowded, so we waited a few minutes for a table. Our waitress spoke some English. We hit on an agreement right away: I would try my German if she would correct me when I erred. This was reassuring. We ordered coffee, which was good, but too strong for our American taste, so I tried my limited German and asked for "heisses Wasser." Immediately, we got a little stainless steel pot of steaming hot water and added it to our cups. "Sehr gut!" That taken care of, we could sit back and appreciate this elegant cellar room the poets Goethe and Schiller loved when they were students at Leipzig University.
Auerbachs Keller has been an upscale Weinstuben, the sign says, or wine bar/restaurant since 1530. Its multi-arched ceiling with thick arches painted in design casts shadows, and low romantic lighting over rich wood paneling gives the room at seating level an amber glow. At midday after a long walk and touring, it is very relaxing. The mural with the Faust theme on the back wall reminds guests that this is not an ordinary Weinstuben, and lush palms punctuate the elegance of this cellar where artists gathered. We agreed it was a special place to be and decided that the wine list looked spectacular--when we return some evening!
The menu of Saxon specialties was equally exciting. I ordered "beef roulade" with red cabbage and potato dumplings. My companion asked for pork roll with green cabbage and dumplings. I thought, "Great! I’ll get both servings of cabbage, since he hates it," but that didn’t happen--not in Germany, where the most scrumptious cabbage in the world can convert the greatest skeptic! My red cabbage with sweet-and-sour sauce was incredible, and his green cabbage with cream sauce was equally delicious, I decided, when he finally agreed to give up one bite. Potato dumplings were not loaded with fat and were nicely browned. Yum! My beef was wrapped in a tasty browned pastry with whole carrot and squash inside, and I got a rave review on David’s pork roll.
We were happy! Service was excellent, our meals were only 11 euro each, and the amber glow had warmed and relaxed us. When we return someday, we may feel like sampling that wine list in the "historic rooms."
From journal Leipzig Lyrics and Lions