German Southern Fusion Cuisine is how the food at Eiderdown was first described to me by Leslie. She talked about it for several months before I finally gave it a try. I've been back several times and have always been impressed with the spread. Located in Germantown on the corner of Goss Ave and Krieger St. (983 Goss Ave. to be exact), Eiderdown is housed in a dark red brick building. The interior is rustic chic with reclaimed wood from barns forming the tables. The atmosphere is relaxed. You are just as likely to see t-shirt and jeans as you are business attire. On our visit we observed: a business dinner, several dating couples of various ages, family dinner, gathering of friends, and one very pink emo mohawk.
Appetizers are the place to start the food breakdown. Every time we go I order the Pretzel sticks. Big, soft, and warm they come salted to just the perfect amount and with two of the house mustards. They actually mix there own mustards, Jenny who has never liked mustards actually liked these. We selected the Hefeweizen and the iPA. The Hefeweizen we decided was our favorite of the two with a sweet savory taste with the mustardy tang. The iPA had a slight sharpness to it that took me by surprise and cleared my sinuses without burning my tongue. Save the mustards for dipping and experimentation with your entrees.
Leslie's favorite Eiderdown appetizer is the Duck Fat Popcorn. When she first heard about it she wrinkled her nose in confusion and doubt, until she tried it. Light yet chewy, crisp and rich, Duck Fat Popcorn is savory without being redolent of meat. The cookbook writer Anne Hodgeman says that duck fat is better than butter. In this case that is the truth.
The entrees our merry band of three ordered were the Nachburger (Thomas), the Gnadinger Pork (Jenny), and the Sunday Sitdown (Leslie).
The Nachburger is Eiderdown's challenge to all would be burger joints and chain restaurants. That's right you know who you are the gauntlet has been thrown down at your feet. The patty is made with local grass fed beef (how's that for green) with bacon ground up in it. It is topped with Kenny's Farmhouse White Cheddar on a Challah bun. It also comes with this little tiny cup of diced tomatoes and onions (itty bitty pieces). I selected the french fries as my side because well it is a burger and even a creme de la creme burger goes better with fries. They brought ketchup to the table, but remember that mustard I told you to hold onto from the appetizer hehehe. The iPA was the perfect condiment for the burger. I have to remember to take breaths in between each bite. It is yummylicious (a technical food reviewer's term I am sure). This is a burger so good you want to thank the cow that gave its life for your entree.
The Gnadinger Pork sandwich, consists of shredded pork shoulder, with black currants, and pistachios on pretzel bread. The currants supply a touch of sweetness without being overwhelming, and the pistachios are like little surprises throughout the sandwich, the pretzel bread is pleasantly crusty and chewy. Jenny also elected to have fries with her sandwich, which she believes to be the best she's ever had in a restaurant (I am inclined to agree with her). These are real fries, from real fresh potatoes deep fried to a wonderful crispness.
The Sunday Sitdown includes greens and grits in addition to the quarter chicken, but Leslie substituted the grits for their unique Pan Seared Potato Salad. She claims an addiction to the potato salad confessing to jonesying over the leftovers the next day. (Not that there is usually much leftover). The centerpiece of the meal, the locally raised chicken, features a crispy unbreaded skin and succulent flavorful meat tender enough to almost fall off the bone while maintaining its character. The greens are a good mate for the bird, a banquet of tastes in and of themselves rather than the limp boiled greens you might have feared.
No dinner can of course be complete at Eiderdown without at least hearing about the desserts. There are several, but really if you know us at all you know we went for the chocolate. The Pot-de-Creme to light to be a fudge, too dense to be a mousse, and way too sophisticated to ever be confused with pudding. It comes with whipped cream (which we asked for on the side in honor of Meg Ryan) and two fresh shortbread cookies. The cookies Jenny observed were perfect for scraping the last bit of chocolate out of the bowl. The dark chocolate confection has a smoky dark flavor combined with just the right amount of sweetness and fruitiness. It reminded me of the moist rich center of a really good homemade chocolate brownie (not a brownie mix from a box either we're talking brownies from scratch). All this was served up in a very large coffee type cup. We shared it between the three of us to help stave off gluttony. We each could have eaten more, but going a way with just enough makes us eager to return again.
Now the sordid topic of coin you may be worrying that all this locally raised and prepared food will eat up your budget halfway through dinner. Appetizers range anywhere from $4-9. Entrees range from $9-22. Between the three of us around $43 minus the tip of course. That included an appetizer, dessert, and one coffee. Not bad really considering spilt three ways that is under $15 a person. This is high quality food for extremely reasonable prices. A note about Jenny's coffee, she is particular about her coffee insisting that most restaurants mix it so weak that she always carries some instant coffee to strengthen it. She never had to take it out of her purse. Of course Eiderdown is also known for its bar and micro brews, but none of us drink so we couldn't help you there. However one of the lovely features of their menu is that every dish has a suggested beverage that goes well with flavors of that item. So fear not you can order boldly even without our input into your beverage lexicon.
In closing we must say if you haven't tried their food really what are you waiting for?
Peace and Blessings,
Thomas Mooneagle, Leslie Moise, & Jenny the Bear (grrrrrrr)