The Vienna, Southbridge MA
On Saturday, 18 June 2005, my wife (Colleen, aka silvara77 and I went to a very nice restaurant in Southbridge called the Vienna.
We knew it was going to be Austrian and German cuisine, and we had seen a sample menu prior to our visit. We knew what to expect, food-wise.
What we didn't expect was the level of service that we had received, and the quality of the food.
Let me take you through the evening, pace-by-pace.
I had made reservations the a couple of nights prior to our visit. No problems. I had received directions over the phone, but I already had some through MapQuest and Google Maps, so I followed those instead. I like that way better than the suggested route.
The place was easy to find in downtown Southbridge. We were surprised that the building also housed an inn.
We were seated right away, and asked for a beverage selection. Colleen had asked for a glass of Riesling (her favorite), but they were out of that at the time, and a glass of Liebfraumilch was suggested. I opted for a Sprite, as I was driving and taking pain medication later that evening.
A small plate with crackers and a very light whipped cheese spread was on the table for pre-meal munching.
Colleen selected the Sauerbraten, which is a marinated and slow-roasted pot roast with a brown raisin sauce. I chose the Peasant Feast, which had a smoked pork chop, bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerkraut (of which I'm not too fond anyway), and spaetzle (a kind of micro-dumpling). For an appetizer, we chose the crabcake.
The crabcake came first, and on the whole, it wasn't too bad. I wasn't thrilled with the bits of red bell pepper inside it, but I picked around them.
We also had a small salad before dinner. I wasn't too sure about what the dressing was, but it wasn't too bad.
Our entrees arrived, and we dug into them. I cut into the bratwurst first, as it's one of my favorite sausages. They say that Johnsonville brats are heaven on a bun, well... this brat (the white kind) made Johnsonville brats, good as they are, seem like Oscar Meyer hot dogs. It was one of the best brats I have ever tasted. Colleen, who isn't a huge fan of sausages, even said that it was tasty. I saved half of it for home. The smoked pork chop was to die for. I loved the ham-like texture, and the stone ground mustard that accompanied the dish made everything taste even better. I scarfed the spaetzle, and left the sauerkraut alone. I ended up taking the knockwurst and half the brat home with me for later snacking.
Colleen's sauerbraten looked delicious as well, and the small piece I tried practically melted in my mouth. My comment was, "I have got to learn how to make this myself!" It was that good.
Dessert was a piece of chocolate mousse cake and a piece of flourless chocolate torte. Both were rich, almost to the point of decandent. Both had creme anglaise and fresh whipped cream on the sides. Colleen ordered up a piece of raspberry linzer torte for home, as our waitress thought that there wasn't anymore, but in actuality there was.
We met the owners of the establishment, and had a very nice time after dinner with them, as we were offered a cordial on the house. We couldn't pass that up. Colleen's drink was a creme de cassis, which tastes like berries and currants, with a bit of lemon rind. Mine was peach liquere with amargnac (an apple brandy, I wager). The peach flavor was more of an undertone, and it had that smokiness I would expect from a brandy.
We also received a tour of the inn upstairs. Quite dandy. Private rooms, each with its own full both. It would be a dandy place for a getaway sometime. Not sure on the room rates, though, but that can be had easily enough.
All in all, a very worthwhile dinner, well worth the price that was paid. I'm not going to tell you how much it was, but I will say that this isn't a place to go every weekend unless you've hit the lottery. We'd probably do it once a year, for special times.
I would suggest this place to anyone who is looking for good food and quiet atmosphere.
14 South Street