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Restaurant Louis C. Jacob

As if its exceptional amenities and lovely setting weren't enough, the Jacob Hotel is home to an up-and-coming restaurant offering a fresh, modern take on regional cuisine. The nouvelle French influence is also much in evidence in Chef Thomas Martins luxurious cuisine. This should come as no surprise, considering the building has housed a French-style restaurant since its opening in 1791. Chef Martins efforts are complemented by sommelier, Thomas Hendrick and their collaboration recently resulted in a coveted Michelin star. Last September, the restaurant was designated "Best of Award of Excellence" by Wine Spectator.

For the time being, however, the Jacob Hotel's restaurant remains a well-kept secret among visitors in the know. At present, dinners range from 65 to 100 DM ($36-$56), an absolute bargain by pricey Hamburg standards. Be warned, however, that recognition by the folks at Michelin is often accompanied by price increases.

We enjoyed lunch overlooking the famous Lindenterrasse that so inspired realist painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935). Dishes are neither wildly creative nor totally traditional in their conception, but the quality of the ingredients is impeccable and execution is solid. The truffled scallops with their endive jackets and butter sauce went beautifully with relaxed conversation; salmon gently poached in Pernod and then a delicate filet of veal with sautéed spinach and gnocchi followed suit. We decided our diet was already long blown, so we said yes to the chocolate mousse cake and mocha ice cream.

As a final touch of finesse, tea came in individual teapots set over votive warmers, accompanied by a tiny hourglass to ensure proper steeping. And just in case we hadn't had enough dessert, silver tray of house-made petit fours appeared. Lovely dinner for two: 170 DM ($95).
Hotel Louis C. Jacob, Elbchausse 401, D-22609 Hamburg, tel. +49/040/82 25 50, fax 822 55 444.
Rating: Quality 17/20 Value 16/20