Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Restaurant Review: Naschmarkt

Naschmarkt - dinner on June 5, 2014
A few of my coworkers and I went out to dinner a couple of weeks ago and we tried out a new-to-me restaurant that one of them recommended. Naschmarkt is located in downtown Campbell, CA and the biggest reason I'd never been there before is parking in downtown Campbell on a weekday, weeknight and the weekend sucks. Truly. It's a cute little neighborhood with lots of cute shops and restaurants but parking (did I mention it sucks?) is so hard to find that I rarely bother. So when I do go, I try to make the most of it.
We showed up early because 5:30 pm was the only time available on Open Table that was close to the dinner hour. Otherwise the next open slot was 8 pm. As we were seated, our waiter explained that they fill up fast since their space is small. I've been in smaller places so I thought Naschmarkt was a nice size and we were lucky enough to score a table by the front window.
I've never really had Austrian food so I don't know if I can attest to how authentic Naschmarkt fare is but I will say what we ordered was delicious. There were four of us and two got the Jager Schnitzel while I and another person ordered the goulash.
Jager Schnitzel
I had assumed goulash would be some kind of stew with vegetables and figured I'd just pick out the veggies (yeah, I know, that exasperates my parents to this day) but, wonder of wonders, this turned out to be my perfect dish because it was beef in sauce. Just beef. Sweet. It was supposed to come with a dollop of sour cream but I don't like sour cream so I asked them to leave it out which they obligingly did. The beef was tender and the sauce was tasty. It was like eating an upscale pot roast but better. I also had a bite of the Jager Schnitzel and that was good too, even the mushroom cream sauce it came in (bear in mind I don't even like mushrooms).
Hungarian Beef Goulash
The goulash (as well as the jager schnitzel) comes with Herbed Spatzle. Spatzle is a soft egg noodle or dumpling and the one at Naschmarkt was delicious. Our waiter recommended we spoon the spatzle, which is served separately, into the sauce of the goulash and mix it in. I tried that and yup, he was right; that was a great way to eat it.
Dinner was pretty filling but that's never stopped me from getting dessert and I had three friends with me who I could lead astray. The four of us split 2 desserts: Schoko Kuchen (aka molten chocolate cake) with salted caramel ice cream and Apfel (apple) Strudel.
Schoko Kuchen
The molten chocolate cake was gratifyingly liquid chocolate in the center and, more importantly, it was obvious Naschmarkt uses the good chocolate. This was yummy. My friends laughed at me because I not only had to get a picture of the molten chocolate cake before any of us cut into it (above) but I also had to capture proof that it really did have a molten center (below). Hey, I believe in truth in advertising and documenting when something lives up to its name.
The apple strudel was a must-get since it's a more traditional Austrian dessert but I always forget this isn't the season for apples. It's always better to get apple desserts in the fall when they're in season. Yes, you can get apples year round but for the truly flavorful apples, fall is the best time to have apple desserts, especially from restaurants who source their produce locally. I thought I would favor the apple strudel but it was a bit too tart for me and I ended up liking the molten chocolate cake better. One of my coworkers favored the strudel so we ended up balancing each other out. And I wasn't shy about forking up the last bite of that chocolate cake either.
Apfel Strudel
I liked Naschmarkt. Prices are in the mid to slightly high range, depending on what you order but I thought it was reasonable given the quality of the food. Portion size wasn't too large or too small but you can definitely leave full. Trust me on that. Service was good and the waitstaff was very nice. We all had a lot of fun that night so that also helps me think fondly of the experience. So the only main drawback was just finding parking in the neighborhood.

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