It's Not the Cheese

Luzern

The desserts were mostly forgettable. There was a chocolate mousse that was sweet and light and not particularly chocolaty -- a real letdown in a Swiss restaurant. The crème caramel was eggy and bland, no better or worse than any other crème caramel you've ever encountered. The meringue glacé required the services of a steak knife, although the ice cream and whipped cream and drizzle of chocolate and the maraschino cherry on top were very nice. The house-made cheesecake, on the other hand, featured a tart top layer, a moist and tasty graham cracker crust, and plenty of fromage flavor in between. We accompanied our desserts with an overly sweetened Swiss herbal tea, Folgers coffee, and something called Swiss coffee, which appeared to be Folgers coffee with Swiss Miss stirred in.

Details

Pâté maison -- $4.25
Escargots -- $5.75
Buendner teller -- $5.25
Fondue au fromage -- $11/person
Poached salmon -- $18.75
Cheesecake -- $3.75

Open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m.

Open for lunch Thursday only from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Reservations accepted

Wheelchair accessible

Parking: possible

Muni: 71

Noise level: above average

664-2353

1429 Noriega (at 22nd Avenue)

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Many of Switzerland's best wines are too delicate to travel beyond its borders. Our 1997 Dôle Chevaliers was certainly youthful, but not in a good way -- it was light, like a slightly boozy soda pop, with an insipid aftertaste. It's the only Swiss red on an uninspiring 24-item list that also includes two Swiss whites and a few German, French, and California vintages. (Seven are available by the glass.) I was also disappointed by the absence of Swiss beers. Not only is Switzerland the site of Europe's oldest brewery, but it also makes the strongest bottom-fermenting beer in the world (Samichlaus, at 13.7 percent alcohol). According to local custom, several of its beers are brewed only by the light of the full moon. Give me a couple of those and a fondue with some body to it and some of that rich, creamy chocolate, and I'll show you a Swiss restaurant worthy of the name.

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