October 2013


It’s nice catching up with old friends… dinner at das Meisterstück

Last night I had the pleasure of dining with one of my former colleagues. She was in town for a work function in Mitte and we agreed to find some place in the neighborhood for dinner.

Enter, amazingly enough, The New York Times.

A couple weeks ago they ran an article highlighting Berlin’s up and coming beer scene. I wish I could take credit for having noticed the article; that goes to Olaf in Santiago, who forwarded it to me along with the note, “wish I were there.”

The article was perfectly timed, and the lead recommendation in the article was das Meisterstück – The Masterpiece – a beer and grill joint located rather close to my office and close to my friend’s hotel. In short, a perfect location.

Walking into the restaurant, my very first thought was, “Wow, this place smells good” – I had to walk past a case full of a wide variety of sausages and past a grill to get to our table. The first impression was good.

Shortly after sitting, a friendly waitress stopped by with a small sample of beer and a small dish to try – and then she vanished.

We actually picked out our food, then digested our surroundings – we were in the coo-coo clock section, and we both agreed that the modern coo-coo clocks were much better looking than the old fashioned ones. We then started talking. Eventually we realized that we hadn’t actually ordered – with my back to the waitresses, it was my friend’s duty to get somebody’s attention – which she did.

She ordered the Nürnberger sausages with a side of potato salad, while I went for the Salmon-sausage with a side of rosemary potatoes. She had a Berliner Weisse and I had a Kreuzberg XPA to drink.

Kreuzberg XPA

I did not pour this beer into this glass. It was the waitress.

Our drinks and food arrived in due course and were, generally speaking, good. The Kreuzberg XPA is an IPA– and ignoring the fact that the waitress pouring my beer gave me large head, it had a rather fruity sweet bouquet to it, but, like all IPAs, ultimately it was a bit too bitter for my taste. The Salmon-sausage (Lachswurst) was really good and came on a bed of wasabi dressed greens – definitely an unusual sausage, but I was feeling adventurous and it was worth having at least once.

Even better than the food and beer was the conversation.

Eventually the food was ingested and the beer gone – at which point my friend suggested another round – again, my back was to the restaurant, so she was left to try to get the attention of a waitress. She tried – shouting out several times, waving her hands – but was unsuccessful in getting the attention of any of the wait staff.

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced wait staff in Germany that seemingly cannot see you – waiters and waitresses here are the master of looking right at you and not seeing you, even if you’re waving your hands. Usually the waiter/waitress gives in and “sees” you after two or three attempts to get their attention.

At das Meisterstück, they are masters at never seeing you.

Eventually I suggested that we retire to her hotel and its bar, where we could surely get prompt service – so we made our way to cash register, paid our 32€ bill, left no tip, and proceeded to her hotel, where the drinks were stiff and the bar staff attentive.

If the service at das Meisterstück wasn’t so terrible, I’d go back.

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