Overall Döner Score: 7/10
Notes: 5 is the baseline in this rating system. That means anything above 5 is above average and everything below is below average.
Simon-Dach-Straße 11, 10245 Berlin (Friedrichshain)
One of the most apparent aspects of Berlin’s ever-expanding food scene, is that it is wholly— to a nearly unbelievable degree— dominated by Döner purveyors. It is only the slightest bit hyperbolic to say that one can get a Döner kebab on any street in Berlin. So why is it, then, that Döner Dach has been recommended to me more than nearly any other Döner shop in the city?
Before I go any further, I should mention that I had actually eaten at Döner Dach pre-Dönerstag and was extraordinarily underwhelmed. However, with so many enthusiastic advocates singing its praises, Döner Dach became increasingly hard to ignore, thus, facilitating my second visit, which clearly proved more enjoyable.
Döner Dach is a veritable hole in the wall— a sliver of store front wedged between two larger restaurants— an arrangement seemingly well suited for businesses heavily supported by foot traffic. Though Döner Dach is now allowing patrons to utilize the several picnic-tables set up at its doorstep, I opted, on this particular occasion, to take my kebab to go, hence the perhaps less-than-flattering photos. The gentleman who took my order was very kind and struck up a bit of small talk. My German isn’t perfect, but I must admit it felt good to be talking to someone just for the sake of talking, especially at a time when social isolation has become a nearly ubiquitous normalcy.
The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped my Döner was that it was woefully under-stuffed, a Döner crime I had, up until this point, never encountered. It was too easy to hold closed! This did make it easier and less messy to eat than your typical over-stuffed kebab, but considering the norm, I couldn’t help but feel a little bit cheated. The meat was fatty and salty in all the right ways, and sprinkled with a seasoning mix that seemed to lean heavily on dried oregano. I’m not typically a fan but it worked.
Though I normally ask what sauces the store offers, I must admit that I forgot this time and opted for my normal scharf und Kräuter. The scharf was typical: it was not particularly spicy and added a sweetness that in other contexts might be unforgivable but that, here, worked well enough. The Kräuter sauce I found to be more interesting. Whereas most Döner shops use some combination of mayonnaise, herbs and sugar for their Kräuter and Knoblauch sauces— a recipe that I have deeply mixed feelings about— Döner Dach seems to just be using a combination of mayonnaise and dill. A unique approach, certainly, but an intolerably heavy handed one. In conjunction with the fatty Dönerfleisch, the Kräuter sauce created a richness that one could probably only replicate at home by slamming consecutive shots of sauce hollandaise and heavy whipping cream..
Transgressions aside, I found my kebab from Döner Dach to be super tasty! With the exception of the Kräuter sauce, everything came together in a very harmonious way to create a sandwich that was exactly what you want from a Döner. Thank you to persistent advocates of Döner Dach for giving me the push I needed to give it another try. While I wouldn’t say that it is the best Gemüse kebab in the city, it is certainly among the top 3, of those I have tried, in Friedrichshain.