Walking into Stable feels a lot like coming home – if your home is a rustic cabin in the Swiss Alps.
Stable, a Swiss-American restaurant that opened this month, is nestled among other up-and-coming restaurants at 1324 H St. NE and offers savory cuisine in a rustic ambiance with an authenticity to make it stand out from the crowd. The menu incorporates fresh, locally-sourced ingredients into traditional Swiss recipes that make you wonder if they raised the lamb out back.
Executive chef David Fritsche describes Swiss cuisine as a crossroads “between its neighbors” including France, Italy, Germany and Austria, not just the cheese and chocolate that the region is famous for. Fritsche added that influences from these outside countries, along with varying Swiss culture, contribute to the diverse range of Swiss dishes at Stable.
Fritsche and Silvan Kraemer, the restaurant’s executive manager, spent the past 17 years working alongside one another in other restaurants before they decided to co-operate Stable. The two grew up in the kitchen and then throughout their careers at various restaurants from Dubai to Dupont Circle, they’ve become “like brothers,” Kraemer said.
Elizabeth Rickert | Hatchet Photographer
“My grandma owns a hotel back in Switzerland so as a small kid I was a dish boy,” Fritsche said. “I grew up into it.”
Despite the marriage of Swiss traditions with other European influences, there’s still plenty of cheese on the menu, especially in the Ramp Spätzle appetizer ($14). Spätzle is a simple green noodle topped with crispy golden onions and interlaced with creamy, melted Gruyere cheese. The smoothness of the cheese harmonizes with the crunch of the onions, and leaves you with a savory symphony punctuated with notes of nutmeg.
For your main course, the veal Zurich style ($27) is an authentic Swiss dish. The lean cuts of veal are accompanied by potato rosti, a more sophisticated version of a hash brown, drowning in a sea of creamy mushroom sauce. The succulent serving of veal and rich mushroom sauce atop the potato pancake redefines what you see as a classic “meat and potatoes” meal.
For those of you aiming for a lighter option, try the white asparagus ($19). Unlike its green-skinned counterpart, white asparagus is grown completely underground, which means that chlorophyll never forms and the stalks are more tender. This main course presents you with crisp and airy stalks doused in a creamy hollandaise sauce and accentuated by prosciutto and potatoes, making the dish a little more filling.
When you enter the restaurant, the atmosphere makes your plate even more enjoyable. You are welcomed by the warm flicker of lanterns and the hearty laughter of young people and families alike. Hand-drawn sketches of Swiss countrysides and upcycled barn doors cover the walls.
As you drift deeper into the restaurant, the space expands into a large enclosed “patio” layout that offers ample seating both at the bar and the standard tables around the restaurant. The open-air floorplan and translucent roof allow soft, natural light to illuminate the variety of bottles stacked behind the bar.
The kitchen is situated right in the heart of the restaurant. The stainless steel pans contrast against the aged, wooden countertop. Here you can catch Fritsche gracefully shifting from one stovetop to another, perfecting your main course, while Kraemer ensures your dish is served with the best experience possible. If you’re seated close enough, you might even hear their playful banter.
As mouth-watering as all of these options are, don’t get too attached because Stable plans to update their menu seasonally to incorporate the freshest ingredients. Certain cheeses and other products are imported from Switzerland, while their meat is often sourced from the Shenandoah Valley and their produce is derived from Pennsylvania.
Their drink menu is also reflective of their commitment to local and Swiss ingredients, serving up beers, wine and cocktails from Switzerland, the countries’ bordering Switzerland and the D.C. area. Kraemer emphasized that freshness is key to their authenticity.
“It’s fresher, it’s more ecologically friendly and it’s also supporting the local farmer and fishermen,” Kraemer said. “It’s really important to support and showcase the local ingredients in a more Swiss style.”
If you’re still vying for more, check out Stable’s indulgent dessert menu, complete with a decadent Toblerone chocolate mousse and a hearty selection of digestifs, like varieties of amaro and cognac from the bar.
Stable may take a little more out of your wallet than other restaurants you frequent, but the authenticity makes the meal worth every penny.