Mirabelle The Joint Mirabelle Drei-Mohren-Str. 11 93047 Regensburg Tel: +49 941 5956550 Cliff Mais oui, c’est tres charmant! We didn’t do our annual (?) Frenchy (road) trip this year. I have been missing something all Spring and unable to put my finger on it. I’d been trying to fill that hole void with imported cheese (ask Sarah, she’ll vouch): in casseroles, appetizers, even straight. It was all very tasty, but none of it was hitting my Gallic spot. Last night, I think I got a little closer to it. Mirabelle did the trick. This place was hard to get into on our first attempt — we called one afternoon and asked for a reservation later that evening and were regretfully and politely, yet resolutely, turned down. On our next attempt we booked about a week in advance. The maitre d’ who took our reservation considerately asked whether there was a particular occasion we were celebrating. “No no, just four friends having dinner” was my answer. “Na, prima. Bis Dienstag, 19:00 Uhr dann. Vielen Dank!” Even the reservation-making was pleasant (to be fair, she was quite nice when turning us down, too). I didn’t sample the wines, but did appreciate Alte Liebe — my favorite brand of dark wheat beer which is a little hard to find around here, even though it’s brewed in a nearby town. It’s in no way French, but I know what I like, and none of the non-German beers on my list are French. I thumbed through the menu and oohed and ahhed at the beef and lamb offerings…but in the end I opted for the menu: smoked salmon salad, pork tips with a side of ratatouille, and some kind of carrot/potato mash thing followed up by Bayerisch Créme* in a fresh berry sauce. All very good — even the carrot/potato mash thing. My only suggestion for improvement (and I freely admit this is really picky of me): the waitress seemed a little less…fitting to the atmosphere. In contrast to the setting, the telephone experience and the food itself, she seemed just a little off in terms of timing: finding the opportune moment to clear the table or the pause in our conversation to offer drinks, etc. Or even reaching across the table to grab empty dishes where I would have expected her to walk around and retrieve from the proper side. I am glad our friends were pleased with the place, especially since it was new to them too. It’s nice when “locals” (to the extent that we don’t yet qualify) thank us for our local gastronomic joie de vivre. Sarah Très charmant, indeed. I was impressed from the moment we set foot in the joint. Honestly, the décor struck me as a little dark for summer dining, but we were led out to a lovely little terrasse – which Cliff didn’t specifically ask for in the reservation, so that was encouraging. I had a glass of Riesling (yeah, I know it’s not French – don’t you judge me) which could have been a little colder, but was light and really fresh tasting without being overly dry. Kerstin, one of our dining companions, had an equally lovely Grüner Veltliner. The food was the impetus for our visit, though, and it was enough to help stave off regrets of not making it to France this year. I had the rolls of goat-cheese-stuffed roasted eggplant, dressed with vinaigrette, marinated tomatoes (think bruschetta topping) and pesto. These are all ingredients that I love, so I was pretty much in heaven. Plus, this was a cold, antpasti-type of thing and it’s been pretty hot and miserable here, so it was a great seasonal offering. The main course was a stuffed red pepper, filled with ground lamb, ratatouille, roasted cauliflower and the same mashed potato/carrot thing that Cliff had. It was all very good and prettily presented, but it wasn’t particularly innovative or surprising, like some of the meals that we’ve had in France. Dessert was a mixed-berry crème brulée – small, but creamy and potent. I was, like Cliff, a little puzzled by our server. This place was so unfailingly professional and polished on all other fronts that her bad timing and chilliness (polite, but seemingly on the edge of irritability) was almost jarring. Maybe she was having a bad day. But we didn’t! We were so looking forward to our dinner at Mirabelle – it’s nice when things live up to your expectations.