Thursday, June 6, 2013

Restaurant Review: American Diner Durlach (Karlsruhe, Germany)

In Karlsruhe where we made a bit of a detour to experience the wonders of Europa Park! (more on that in a future blogpost), I found a little slice of Americana balancing precariously in what appeared to be a tin trailer or misplaced caboose.

I wanted to scream "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!" but no one would have understood me. It has been a fervently held dream of mine to be a host of a show like that. Drive across a country sampling its greasiest, cheesiest, artery-choking, cholesterol-raising fried foods? HEAVEN. Until this dream of mine is fulfilled, I'll have to settle for a little American diner in the middle of southern Germany. 

Deceptively small, from the front it would appear that this establishment could only serve six tables-worth of patrons at a time. A mere façade: this place had a back area capable of seating 30, with an additional top floor area able to host a capacity of 40 more. 

All the better to serve these fatty-foods-lovin' Germans better, my dear.

The servers put on their best dickey bow ties and thick-rimmed glasses. I was half-surprised they didn't roll out in rollerskates. Surprisingly, the chef made several appearances as well, singularly rolling out the main dishes to the patrons. Whether it was because it was late and there were a lack of servers, or he preferred to put out his product face-to-face, I am not sure. Regardless, service was warm and punctual.

To-die-for vanilla milkshake with a cherry on top. When I say to-die-for, I mean literally- I'm more than certain this innocent glass of frothy foamy goodness contained more calories than a person's daily advised consumption is. Nevertheless, I sucked it down.

Mmmm, heart attack.

Obesity and high blood pressure, delicious!

Never you mind that I'm mildly lactose intolerant. 

When in Rome! We wasted no time and right away ordered ourselves a big ole Diner Mixed Platter: chili cheese nuggets, big onion rings, mozzarella sticks, crispy chicken wings served with BBQ sauce and Diner Special Sauce. They'd ran out of regular chicken nuggets so we got more chili cheese nuggets... and boy oh boy, the chili cheese inside those hot crispy fried babies simply oozed out with every bite. The onion rings were battered properly to get that auditory crunch, and the chicken wings were chicken wings meh. The mozzarella sticks appropriately cheesy and gooey, but that Diner Special Sauce (probably mayonnaise with relish and ketchup) was yum-o! What's bad for your body is delicious on the tongue!

I wavered between Caramba Burger that came with hot chili sauce and jalapeños and the Ranch Burger, and decided upon the latter in the end. The Ranch Burger had crispy bacon, rich cheddar cheese, a big fat onion ring, BBQ sauce, and a juicy meat patty... with a shred of romaine leaf, a pickle, and a slice of tomato, lovingly covered by a toasted sesame bun. It had all the food groups I needed for the day! I got potato wedges and cole slaw on the side. 

Look at that glistening honk of deliciousness. Safe to say I neglected the mediocre potato wedges for this beauty.

One of the best parts of sitting in a fake train caboose/tin trailer in the middle of Germany is the amazing artwork displayed on the walls. They are replicas of American advertisements from early 1930s-1940s which are supposed to trigger a sense of nostalgia and give a whiff of authenticity to the place.

Everything from 25¢/lb ground fresh coffee to 25¢ Budweiser. See?! They made me find that hidden relic of a ¢ keyboard button!

However, upon further inspection, it appears that no one from the politically-correct department bureau examined these artworks. I saw more than a few of these hanging nonchalantly on the wall.

I mean!

I guess this is a historical example of sexual innuendos selling a good, not unheard of in modern times. 

Life was so simple back then, wasn't it? And dammit I miss Twinkies!

If you find yourself in the middle of southeastern Germany and find yourself craving a little slice of Americana heaven, take thyself to:

Fiduciastrasse 2 
Karlsruhe, Germany 76227 
Reservations in advance are recommended but not required: +49 (0721) 40 6171
They're open from 11AM-11PM
Prices: $-$$

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