Courtesy of Weinstein's
Weinschenke Weinstein is located on Lychener Strasse 3 in Prenzlauer Berg.
Founded originally as a wine bar in 1993, Weinstein's, much like its hometown of Berlin, continues "to become." It has evolved from a simple enoteca to a restaurant now known for its fierce dedication to quality food and wine.
Dining here is more than just something to notch up on your belt of nights out on the town. Rather, it is a lesson in taste education. The menu advises you to drink - but to do it with food and thus gain a better understanding of how the two relate, and more significantly, how they reinforce one another. This sets Weinstein's apart from your typical fine and dines.
Speaking with owner, Roy Metzdort, on a quiet Tuesday evening over glasses of German Riesling by winemaker Martin Tesche, I quickly learned about the restaurant's history and current philosophy.
Originally from Southern Germany and an electronic engineer by trade, Roy began to experience health problems in the early 1990s. This directed his attention to food, and upon moving to Berlin, he opened the restaurant.
I wanted a place where people could come and taste good but interesting wines. We were just a wine bar for 18 years. The food aspect developed later. The turning point was after the 2006 German World Cup under the direction of then head chef, Uwe Groß. Following the Cup, there was suddenly a renewed interest in German cuisine and a desire to reconnect to the land. Groß took this as an opportunity to seek out the best ingredients and to develop a new menu founded on quality products. Now, we get our fish from producers in Brandenburg and go to to wine fairs in order to see what other producers are doing. We are constantly seeking out the best and cultivating new relationships. It's fun how things have changed, and I believe we do the best we can, but we don't go overboard. We are not beholden to German cuisine nor do we have a desire to reinvent it. It is fine how it is. The most important thing are the products and their quality. We want to support producers who are committed to such a standard - wine producers included.
It is this relaxed and confident attitude that allows Weinstein's to remain a success.
There is nothing fancy or intimidating about this establishment - despite a cellar boasting over 100 different wines, exceptional food, and a knowledgeable staff. The dusty wine caskets and bottles lining the wall are charming and indicative of the quality Weinstein's esteems and its attitude towards wine.
Their pairing menu is for their own benefit as well.
"The menu's pairing suggestions are a chance for us to know our products better. We mix and match and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Either way, we learn from it and are thus able to better serve our customers, as well as teach them what wine and food really have to offer," Metzdort says.
Cheers to that.