Twice a year, something magical happens in Austria: Restaurant Week. Dozens of restaurants around the country offer diners a set three-course menu for a very small price (i.e., lunch is 19 Euros). I’ve been dying to try Gusshaus, located on Gusshausstrasse 23 in the 4th district, ever since I first read about it. It boasts food from across the former Habsburg empire and promised to be a unique dining experience.
Gusshaus participated in this round of Restaurant Week, and yesterday I got to try a meal there. It was definitely worth the wait! When I sat down I was greeted with a bowl each of green and black olives, a basket of bread, and a spread that tasted vaguely fishy. (I love fishy-tasting food, so this was a good thing.) I ordered a glass of white wine to go with the meal, and thus the three courses of yumminess began.
The first course was a bowl of cress “foam” soup with fried scallops. I am not sure exactly what “foam” implies, other than perhaps the soup had neither a clear broth nor a heavy, creamy broth. The scallops were very lightly fried (if at all), and the combination of scallops and cress made for a light and delicious soup.
The main was a pork cutlet with mushroom filling, served atop noodles with grilled vegetables (carrots and zucchini) and covered in pepper-cream sauce. The meat was cooked perfectly medium-rare and was juicy and tender. The cream sauce was surprisingly light and did not overwhelm the vegetables or noodles. In other words, a fantastic main course that didn’t leave me feeling overly full and nasty.
And a good thing, too, considering this is what was served as dessert. Knoedels filled with a thick, delicious chocolate cream and accompanied by plum compote, strawberry compote, and sugared mint and lavender. I admit the picture is blurry because I might have been too excited about eating these.
The service was excellent in this restaurant: the food was brought quickly and there was not a huge gap between courses, the servers asked repeatedly if I needed beverage refills, and the bill was brought promptly. The cost of the entire meal and wine was 25 Euros, a very reasonable price. I do not know what the prices normally are for this restaurant, but whatever they are they would be worth it for food this good.