I heard this rumor that there was a Kneipe (local neighborhood pub) in Neukölln that had an authentic “American Breakfast.” I'm not sure what's an American Breakfast, so I decided to find out.
Neukölln is a neighborhood that I rarely visit. It's home to a large Turkish population; but increasingly, it's becoming a popular place for young people as rents in other parts of Berlin are skyrocketing.
I was told that Lagari's owner was from California and that the chef was Scottish (an interesting combination). I was also told that the service was exceptionally slow; but having lived in Portland, I'm used to slow service.
I'm not sure I can adequately describe my experience at Lagari. It was neither bad nor exceptionally good. In a word, it was surreal. I was in Berlin; yet from the moment, I entered Lagari, English was the predominant language. The waiter greeted me in English, the menu was written in English, and the customers were having conversations in English (albeit with a German accent). I tried to order in German, but the waiter replied in English.
The menu included blueberry pancakes with Canadian maple syrup, Heuvos Rancheros with black beans, French Toast, a vegan plate, and some egg dishes. I guess these items qualified as “American,” but why Canadian maple syrup? Isn't Vermont maple syrup good enough?
The place was definitely a neighborhood bar, but there were additional touches intended to give it an American feel (checkered tablecloths, film posters). Hmm?
Despite the warnings, the service was excellent. It was friendly, quick, and efficient. Certainly better than most places in Berlin, and, without a doubt, better than any restaurant in Portland! The food, on the other hand, was unexceptional. I ordered the “egg plate dish.” The hash browns were okay, the pancakes mediocre, the Canadian maple syrup watery (they should have used Vermont syrup), and the toast not really toasted. The eggs were fine but how bad can eggs be?
To be fair, I didn't order Lagari's specialties: the blueberry pancakes or Heuvos Rancheros. I'll certainly visit again. According to its website, Lagari also has exhibitions, music events, and even a pool table.