It’s very strange that I have never written about Zur Alten Kaisermühle before, for I must have dined there close to 15 times, usually ordering spare ribs. For a long time, the Kaisermühle has been the main competitor of the mighty Strandcafé and must have benefitted more than anyone from that restaurant’s temporary closures.
On the other hand, it’s quite good that I have not written anything because for some reason (a new cook?) the ribs do not taste the same as I remember them. The change is not for the better, unfortunately. The “old ribs” were expertly marinated and came with the special homemade sauce that, though trailing behind the Strandcafé’s famous “red” in terms of taste, was nevertheless much better than many. The sauces that the Kaisermühle complements its ribs with now are very industrial, even if they come in fancy little glass jars.
The jars are just one part of the presentation, which is impeccable. The special metal pins attached to the wooden board keep the ribs vertical, and the ribs themselves are untypically long and have an appetizing brown color. They are perfect until you try them.
And when you do, the disappointment arives. The meat tastes over-boiled, falling apart the moment you hit it with the fork. The main flavor is not of the marinade (which is present and probably not bad) and not of the meat, but of pepper, which has been added a bit too generously and makes the ribs quite spicy even without the sauces.
Whenever I visit Zur Alten Kaisermühle, I can’t help thinking that the restaurant pretends to be better than it really is. It has a perfect location, is quite well designed, and the staff is generally friendly, but the quality of the dishes matches neither the ambiance nor the prices.