11:30 am-2 pm and 5-9:30 pm Monday-Thursday, 11:30 am-2 pm and 5-10:30 pm Friday, 5-10:30 pm Saturday. $$-$$$ Moderate-expensive.
[MOUNTAIN FOOD] We walked into Chris Israel's "Alpine" restaurant expecting to gorge ourselves on fat Central European sausage and schnitzel and sauerkraut, and we did—the schnitzel with poached cherries was tasty, and the mixed grill of rosemary-stuffed quail, duck sausage and spring onion on salty lentils was quite good—but to our surprise, Grüner's most memorable dishes were salads. The shaved-radish salad with pumpkin seeds, dill and chives arranged in a red-and-white spiral is the prettiest dish we've seen this year; we'd have photographed it if we hadn't scarfed the whole plate down in a flurry of jabbing forks. The enormous "Grüner" salad tosses summery greens with beets, tomatoes, chickweed and a half-dozen other items with a faintly sweet dressing, and could easily serve as a light entree for $9. Break up the vegetable theme with the excellent cheese plate and a pint of Heater Allen dunkel lager, or continue it with a Neue Vienna—essentially a martini with Zirbenz stone pine liqueur, it tastes pleasantly like drinking a forest. BEN WATERHOUSE.
Ideal meal: Salad, salad, salad, cheese.
Best deal: Grüner sells one of the best burgers in the city (see page 22) for just $10, but you can order it only at the bar. Happy hour 4:30-6 pm Monday-Friday.
Chef's choice: Grüner salad. "It's crunchy and healthy and it reminds me of the salads my mom used to make when i was growing up. I basically survive on bread and sugar, so I feel like I'm doing a good thing for my body when I eat it." (Chris Israel)