For six years now, Germantown has been our home. We've seen the beginning of the Shotgunfest, GoGreenGermantown, and our neighborhood association has grown stronger. Our Germantown neighbors have supplied us with fresh eggs and vegetables from their tiny, urban, backyard farms, they've eased our fears after a break-in, and supplied us with endless laughter. We love it here--love the quirky, eccentric crowd at Nachbar that welcomes our dog with a biscuit; love the hope for the community's future. One beautiful addition to this gem of a neighborhood is the newly opened restaurant, Eiderdown.
When you enter the door, you realize immediately someone loves this place. Exposed brick, comforting earth tones, and thick, dark, wooden tables adorn the newly renovated space that previously housed a pizza place. Three chandeliers create the soothing light overhead while the likes of Cat Power and Yo La Tengo subtly play in the background. Warm and inviting, I had the feeling like Dorothy, "I'm not in Germantown anymore..." instantly transported to some neighborhood European cafe without the language barrier.
The menu is diverse offering the best burger I've wrapped my lips around in a long while. The "Nachburger" ($9.50) is a juicy, hand-pattied, local grass-fed burger studded with bacon inside the ground beef; this offers a tender, higher-fat delight that puts its drier cousins to shame. The bun is made from Challah bread and topped with Kenny's Farmhouse White Cheddar and a house-made relish of cucumbers and tomatoes. Mustards are offered in house-made Hefeweizen, IPA, and Porter varieties for fifty cents each. All sandwiches are served with a choice of side ranging from delicious hand-cut fries to fresh braised greens that were neither soupy nor greasy as many tend to be.
I've also tried the Doner Kebab ($8.50), featureing shaved leg of lamb on an open-faced pita with cabbage, tomatoes, and yogurt--a delicious and wholesome alternative to the beef and lamb gyros cut from the roll of meat around town. Other sandwiches include the Gnadinger Pork: pork braised in Aventinus (?) with black currants and pistachios on a pretzel bun and Kentucky Country Ham: local country ham topped with red onion marmalade, Hefeweizen mustard and a fried egg on Blue Dog Pugliese. Entrees include braised ribs ($16) and sauerkraut, a winter vegetable ragout ($14) topped with sage spaetzle, goat cheese, and walnuts. All sandwiches, entrees, salads, and appetizers are created by the chef Brian Morgan and nod to the locavore.
Heather Burks and her husband James, owners of the Nachbar, a stone's throw from the restaurant, initially fell in love with the Germantown space and had the vision of bringing "...German/European inspired comfort-food with southern elements using as much local meat and produce as possible..." to the neighborhood. "He [Chef, Brian Morgan] put together exactly what we wanted; he's awesome by the way," Burks said.
There is no kids' menu yet, but Burks says one is in the works that will probably feature grilled cheese and a pita pizza. On a trip last weekend, our kids ate mostly fries, but weren't disappointed due to the game room along the side of the building that featured darts and cozy seating.
The food has never disappointed, but the ambiance is the most welcome addition to Germantown that I can see. "I just wanted the place to be comfortable, inviting, reasonably priced and delicious," Burks said. The beautiful bar and decor add some much needed class to the G-town, but the down-to-earth wait staff and reasonable pricing make Eiderdown warm and welcoming to many crowds without the pretentiousness. Eiderdown will become, no doubt, a go-to spot in Germantown. Welcome to the neighborhood.
Eiderdown (pronounced with a long "I") is located at 983 Goss Ave. and is open for lunch and dinner all week.