German restaurants, once a part of the trio of European cuisines that made up Washington's "foreign" food, are now almost an endangered species. The metro area has many fewer German restaurants than Thai restaurants, making a meal at Cafe Berlin seem almost like an adventure in exotic eating.
Starters include very good marinated herring, served with onions, apples, and sour cream. The limp potato pancakes were a disappointment.
Schnitzels get top billing. The Wiener schnitzel is terrific, breaded and fried to a delicious crustiness; there's also Rahm Schnitzel, with a cream-and-mushroom sauce, and Jägerschnitzel, a sautéed pork steak with bacon and mushrooms.
Another German standby that's done well is Kassler Rippchen, smoked pork loin served with sauerkraut. Zwiebelrostbraten, a sirloin steak topped with crisp onions, was cooked to order and served with a delicious gratin of potatoes. If you're not a beer drinker, a dry German Riesling is a good accompaniment to this hearty cooking.