Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Restaurant N°4, Buxtehude

Jens Rittmeyer and I had our last meeting before my current visit to Buxtehude a few months ago on the beach of Sylt. At that time also included: raw Norway lobster and an intense hot crustacean broth, in which we briefly immersed the shellfish and lightly cooked. Eaten out of hand and then with rapid movement head and shells thrown back into the sea.

Far less archaic and much more sophisticated in culinary terms was our most recent encounter: Jens Rittmeyer has since swapped Sylt and the starred restaurant at Budersand for Buxtehude and the Navigare NSBhotel.

In addition to N°4, whose visit today I pay special attention to, the Seebreeze restaurant is also among the chef’s new places of work. Casual dining is the name of the game here, with classic and traditionally influenced dishes on the menu. On this evening, however, my visit is to the small fine-dining restaurant, which has only four tables.

Here at N°4, Rittmeyer would like to (continue) telling the great culinary stories in the future. The focus is mainly on his so typical regional-Nordic cuisine with a special emphasis on excellent sauces, funds and jus.

It starts with a round of beautiful snacks: baked sunflower root and cream, smoked quail egg, sour cream with whitefish caviar, a tartar of carrots grilled for two hours and marinated in vacuum, as well as a mushroom fumée with fir oil and a baked black cabbage with rapeseed oil cream.

Baked sunflower root and cream
Smoked quail eggs
Baked black cabbage with rapeseed oil cream

These first little courses pretty clearly point the direction that tonight will hopefully take and are, moreover, beautifully crafted. Together with a glass of champagne from Gosset, they make you want to discover the other compositions in N°4.

The menu starts with cauliflower, sorrel and trout caviar. Here, the cabbage is worked in different textures, marinated raw and additionally as a crumble and combines with the fish eggs to create a round, balanced and umami-earthy composition. Sorrel is not only pure decoration but gives freshness and green accents. Only the cool cube, a mouse of freshly squeezed, reduced and gelled cauliflower juice, irritates me a bit and is almost superfluous in my view, but conceptually coherent. Restaurant manager Christian Seyer serves a glass of light Auxerrois Gentle Hills 2015 from the Heitlinger winery.
Hidden Fjord salmon from the Faroe Islands comes on smoked buttermilk and dill and is nothing less than a perfect fish dish. The (farmed) salmon is firm in texture and intense in flavor, has a delicate melt and pairs sensationally with the buttermilk with the light smoky flavors. The depth is further supported by dill oil. Surprisingly well matched with a very powerful Sauvignon Blanc, Silex by Berthier.
It follows a very exciting and peferkt cooked scallop. Rittmeyer serves the dipped specimen from Norway with a brown butter-based sauce. The intense aroma is due, on the one hand, to the beards of the mussel, which are briefly placed in the hot broth. It also gets a strong sweetness from the addition of celery juice. Salt herbs and bronze fennel complete the successful combination.

After a separate bread course (blueberry bread from a friend of the house from Nuremberg) with goat butter, follows: Various beets, oil broth, pickled mackerel, ham flavors. Again, the title understates the complexity of the plate. Beet, yellow beetroot, white beetroot and ring beetroot each marinated raw and cooked form the basis for a mackerel marinated in verveine. The decoction of oil rocket gets a strong smoky note by the addition of rendered ham fat. Overall, many complex flavors are created, only the overall quite high fat content offers slight cause for criticism. On the other hand, fat is of course an ideal flavor carrier. A Kiedrich Riesling from Eva Fricke gives the course a good balance with a fresh, floral acidity.

An important aspect in N°4 is the finalization of individual courses at the guest. For example, the onion baked on sea salt with apple cider sauce and rapeseed oil hollandaise. The heart of the onion, baked at 150 degrees for over two hours, is released and served with the sauce, hollandaise and a pumpernickel buckwheat crunch. The caramelized scent of the onion is beguiling. Overall, however, the heart is then quite large and despite the interesting companions, the typical onion flavor prevails at some point.

A Holstein wagyu with oat root and Brussels sprouts makes up the (first) main course of the evening. Served with Jerusalem artichoke parsnip mash and roasted parsnip puree and a sensational black vinegar sauce made from prunes. The Wagyu is very tender and has a pleasing but not overdone fat marbling – a great meat course.

What follows is an experiment – a very successful one, in my opinion. As a first preview of the new menu, I may already try the new main course. A duck breast of impressive quality from Limfjord. Accompanied by chard marinated in duck fat and apple balsamic and a strong lemon thyme broth. Amazingly, despite the clearly Nordic provenance of all the ingredients, the course feels slightly Asian. Certainly also due to the pleasing absence of carbohydrates. And a great preview of the menu to come.

In Danish Thybo cheese, salt crystals are added before 12 months of aging. Here combined with a little walnut and fresh pear. A light and uncomplicated cheese course.

Much more elaborate then the dessert: cranberry, apple, wood sorrel and amber chocolate. The apple is preserved in cranberry juice, and processed as a créme, a parfait of amber chocolate, red and green wood sorrel, cranberry gel and grated amber chocolate. Accompanied by a cranberry-applewood-thyme broth. It is rare that I get so excited about a dessert – but this one is simply a sensation. Balanced between sweet and tart-fresh, overall very light yet complex in aroma.

The evening concludes with “Sweets from next door”: carrot broth with elderflower and chervil sorbet, blueberry and dill, and an herbal ice tea with apple and savory. Similar to the snacks to start, these three sweet trifles sum up the evening again aptly: Local products, well-crafted and beautifully presented. Clear aromatics and flavor complexity.

N°4 is a welcome new addition to the region, bringing together the ideas of Nordic cuisine with Jens Rittmeyer’s craft and his excellent sauces and suds, which are unfortunately often criminally neglected in this context.

Buxtehude can be reached from Hamburg in 30 minutes – and those who in the evening – due to the good wine accompaniment of restaurant manager Christian Seyer – shy away from the return trip, can also stay at the Navigare NSBhotel very comfortable and at affordable rates. Which then even allows the possibility of a deeper excursion into the Alte Land.

Restaurant N°4
at Navigare NSBhotel
Harburger Str. 4
21614 Buxtehude

Phone: 04161-74900

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