Stop the presses! Hold the phone! Drop whatever you're doing and call Brasserie Lamazère to get a dinner reservation as soon as possible. You have to call because they are booked out every night (every night!) and please be patient if you can't get in today or tomorrow. You will thank your patient self once you are ensconced in one of their cozy little tables, because holy frog legs, the food is good. I mean, seriously good. Like, better than Paris good. Oh, I said it! And I mean it!
Lamazère opened six months ago in a small space on the section of Stuttgarter Platz that used to be a venue for strip clubs and other unsavories and is now slowly transforming into a gentrified street (can you even use that word in Charlottenburg?) with a tea shop (ejected from Mitte!), an upscale Italian deli (well, to be fair, that's been there for decades) and a passable pizza place called Foccaccino. But with Lamazère's opening, I think it's fair to say that Stuttgarter Platz can now call itself a dining destination.
The only printed menu you'll get at Lamazère is the wine menu (they work with Passion Vin); the daily menu is written on a communal chalkboard. You can opt, in true French style, for an appetizer and an entree for 24 euros or for three courses for 30. This is, to put it lightly, a steal.
I ordered the oeufs cocotte to start and something called Atlasfisch (I think?) as a main. The eggs came in a little cast-iron pot that was hot to the touch and a slice of nicely toasted bread. The eggs were still cooking as they were placed in front of me, and continued to cook in the hot pot, the yolks a deep, liquidy orange. There were tender slivers of artichokes on top and the faintest hint of cream around the edges. Just lovely.
But ohooo, the fish. The fish! This whole thing was a revelation. That smear on the left of the board was the silkiest, most ethereal celery root purée I've ever tasted. I almost wondered if they'd made it in a Pacojet. It practically levitated. The fish - delicious and substantial white flesh with nicely crisp skin - was balanced on two quenelles of duxelles, a little pile of artichokes both cooked and puréed, and a wedge of caramelized celery root. The duxelles, dear readers, were worth the price of the meal alone. The mushrooms were minced into impossibly small pieces and their flavor was so pure, so intense and so perfectly matched with the celery root and fish and the sweetness of the artichokes. Gah! I didn't want to stop eating any of it. It was just so good.
Desserts weren't as hugely successful - I ordered a fondant au chocolat, which was fine but not earth-shattering and my friend had rice pudding that was a little one-tone in flavor (it was served with salted caramel and candied almonds to add on top, though), but I think that a different order (the prunes in Armagnac, silly me!) might have made me happier. Still, though, it was a fabulous meal. The service was impeccable and friendly, the wine was good and fairly priced, the restaurant felt cozy and familial without being cramped.
My only quibble? I think serving food on wooden or slate boards and in cast-iron pots is a little fussy and unnecessary. Food this good can stand alone on a plain white plate just fine. But of course this means that food this good can be served on anything, even a wooden board, and still shine.
So happy that Lamazère is in the neighborhood. Now get calling!
Stuttgarter Platz 18
Tel: (030) 318 007 12