Eat This Now – Choucroute Garni at SPAGO

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On a cold winter’s day, nothing hits the spot like a little choucroute garni from the mind (and talents) of Eric Klein at Spago.

Think of it as as sauerkraut (the choucroute) garnished with pork (the garni). Or, as we say around the ELV offices:

Steve Levitt Office

pork on pork on pork on pork on pork…with sauerkraut, a nicely steamed potato, and some good, hot mustard thrown in for spice. What could be better?

Klein hales from Kaysersberg, in Alsace, France — a region known for its blending of the Allemagne/French cultures. A place where choucroute is a culture, and tarte de flambĂ©e a religion.

We once spent five days in Colmar, (France, not Maryland) eating nothing but choucroute garni and tarte flambee noon and night (with a side trip to L’Auberge de L’Ill for a four hour extravaganza of Alsatian delights), so we consider ourselves something of an American expert on these things.

Which only means we crave both dishes just about all the time…but especially when the air turns frosty.

Most of the time, Klein’s choucroute is an off-the-menu item. He tells us very few customers appreciate it, and only ELV and Slapsie Maxie swoon over it.

But swoon we do, because of the pork in all its guises (Klein also throws in some chicken sausage occasionally), and because, in spite of what you might think, it is amazingly digestible and non-filling.

Not to mention how great it goes with a glass of German kabinett riesling.

It may be putting an awfully fine point on it, but we like the lighter, racier rieslings of Germany with all that pork. Alsatian rieslings, while also a favorite, can sometimes be too rich and earthy for a dish that’s much lighter than it first appears.

Spago’s choucroute garni is not always available, but when it is, it costs $34, is plenty for two, and is worth going out of your way for.

Just thought you’d like to know.


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2 thoughts on “Eat This Now – Choucroute Garni at SPAGO

  1. hugs…happy ya’ll got by to see him — he told me first thing when he got home…and voila! It is a thing of porkydeliciousness, his choucroute, isn’t it? xo tk

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