Friday, May 23, 2014

Gessler at Hotel Francuski

The Francuski Hotel is not only about the sumptuous interiors, the perfectly manicured ambience, great guests, but also excellent cuisine. It is the location of the Gessler restaurant boasting truly extraordinary fame. Some of the greatest Polish chefs have rattled their pots and pans in here. Today, it is run by no-one else but the famous Adam Gessler and his two sons, Mateusz and Adam Szczęsny. Adam Gessler is a fourth generation restaurateur and a truly great figure of European gastronomy.

Image via Francuski Website
For our last dinner in Krakow, Keith made reservations at Gessler after having read of this chef's fame in Poland.  We arrived, and shockingly the restaurant was empty.  We sat near the window and a formally-dressed male server arrived to take our drink order.  We chose a rich red wine from the Côtes du Rhône region of France.

We then took our time looking over the menu, and decided to order a couple appetizers to start.  Our server did not speak much English, so there was a bit of a translation confusion at first, but he seemed to understand and soon enough our first bites of food arrived.

I ate the Fried Mushrooms that were served with a fresh tartar sauce.  The mushrooms were piping hot - literally fresh out of the pan, as the server brought the frying pan to the table and plated each mushroom one by one for me.  Sadly, there was not much taste, just a heavy thick fried coating.  The tartar sauce was interesting though, with lots of chopped pickles.


Keith ordered a traditional sour soup called Żur na Zakwasie.  Ladled tableside, the soup was studded with hard boiled egg, and pieces of kielbasa sausage.  It wasn't really that sour as one would expect.


We also shared Gryczane Naleśniki ze Szpinakiem i Kozim Serembuckwheat pancakes (crepes) with spinach and goat cheese.  The spinach was fresh and sauteed with lots of garlic, but I didn't really find that much cheese inside.

The formal service continued when our main entrees arrived.  The chef came out with a rolling cart and the server plated each dish right there.  Next, they poured sauce on, and served the side vegetables.  This old school service was a throwback to decades ago, but I suppose is still appreciated and seen as a formality for the hotel restaurant.  The fact that the restaurant was empty was also a bit odd for me, so I didn't understand all the showmanship.  But in the end, I found it be an elegant and tasteful tradition.


Keith enjoyed the Królik Duszony w Sosie Musztardowymstewed rabbit in mustard sauce.  It was served with spaetzle.  The meat was tender and the sauce went well with the noodles.  Overall a rustic dish.




I ate the Chicken Kiev.  Breast meat was stuff with vegetables and then deep fried.  I was slightly turned off by the extra spoonfuls of oil that the server poured over the chicken.  i think all the fired food was catching up with me, and I was starting to feel heavy.  The chicken was served with simple boiled potatoes with a heaping of chopped dill on top, and a side of cucumber salad with more dill and sour cream.

In the end, we had a peaceful dinner at Gessler, but I would have liked to have a seen a little more modern touches to the food and service.

Total Rating: 3.48
Food: 3.5, Price: 3, Service: 4, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Fried Mushrooms
with tartar sauce

Gryczane Naleśniki ze Szpinakiem i Kozim Serem
buckwheat pancakes with spinach and goat cheese

Chicken Kiev
with potatoes and cucumber salad

Plus Keith ate:
Żur na Zakwasie
traditional sour soup

Królik Duszony w Sosie Musztardowym
stewed rabbit in mustard sauce

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