Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reinthaler's Beisl, Vienna

Thusly we kicked off a week of...wiener jokes! Sure, my cover story in suggesting a Christmas trip to Austria was 'romantic Europe' and 'Krissakesmarkts' and the like, but you know why I wanted to go to Wien - to make Wiener jokes.

Not a joke is the hearty, satisfying nature of the cuisine here. You know there are few things more satisfying than a good wiener. Or so I'm told. So we're going to have to watch our consumption over the next week - so many cakes and tafelspitzez and rostibrats and all.

I can't visit a city without researching restaurants. Chowhound isn't my favorite thing (I admit it, I didn't love the personalities on the Tokyo board when I used to blog about Tokyo all the time, plus I was bitter that the moderators would delete my posts with links to my own reviews.) but one guy on the Vienna forum, a seeming local named Sturmi, posts with at least as much zeal and knowledge as I used to apply to Tokyo. And this was his recommendation for traditional stodge closest to my hotel. Voila.

It's a homey place. The best way I can think to describe this to my vast audience of Tokyo-philes is that a beisl is an Austrian izakaya. Similar food and similar drink at every location, good prices, conviviality in abundance. Homey.
With pictures of home and mother. No roaring fire, unfortunately. But a LOT of people smoking a LOT of smokes. We sat in the front room for 10 minutes, getting smoked and not getting served, and then I realized that there was a non-smoking back room that also had a more attentive waitress. It was still smokey back there. I think it's part of their process.
An oddly tasty sweet-picked salad  came with one of the main dishes (almost like they're guilty for serving a main dish that's nothing but meat, bread and fat). Sort of an asa-zuke with more sugar, if you'll allow me to continue the Japanese line of reasoning. This was tasty and made you want to eat more, which was a good and virtuous thing, because the main dishes were...
Yeah. Sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes. C'mon! All three elements were just fine. How good or bad can you make them?
And this is what the salad came with - a schintzel of breaded and fried wiener. Considering the surrounds and the price, this was darn tasty. The deal with a good Wienerschnitzel is that it's so big it doesn't fit on the plate, or in this case in the camera frame, and the insides are veal that's been pounded into softness and submission. You wouldn't eat this for every meal, but it's a nice way to kick off a visit to the city.

And it also makes you want to kick off your shoes and pass out. 
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