Vienna Restaurant and Historic Inn a.k.a. The Vienna House By Kendra Lapin
When you really want to impress …
Written by staff June 2009
14 South St., Southbridge ( 508) 764-0700
Nestled in history and elegance, the Vienna mansion in Southbridge is something special.
I made reservations as the website suggested, and we were greeted by name upon entering. Our table was already set up. We were immediately offered beverages and a wine list. No one rushed us as we weighed drink choices with food choices.
To help, our waiter offered the extensive list of the night’s specialties from memory and was able to elaborate and give suggestions based on our preferences. Throughout the meal, we were constantly attended to ensure food and drink were exactly as we wanted, and our water and soft drink glasses were never empty.
While we decided on our food choices, we got a hint of what was in store for us. Scott’s iced tea was unsweetened — because it didn’t need sweetener. It tasted like a green tea infused with bergamot. The flavors were delicate without a hint of harshness or bitterness: perfectly brewed. His refill was a lemon herb tea which was equally superb. We also received a relish plate with herbed crostadas. Yellow beet balanced sweet, sour, and tang with just the right crunch, and the relish offered a seasoned mix of olives, onions, red peppers, white bean and chick peas.
Dinner was served Old World European style, leisurely, so make sure you aren’t in any rush.
My appetizer was a mix of chantrelle, shitake, and button mushrooms sautéed with shallots in a rich, creamy sauce, served with red pepper slivers, balsamic vinegar, and toasted dark rye. An edible flower on the artistic appetizer made a feast for the eyes. The taste was even better than it looked, and I utilized bread crust to sop every drop from the plate.
My husband’s wine-marinated Bismark herring had left me leery when he ordered, but I quickly changed my mind upon seeing the lovely squares of white fish on a mix of greens with radishes, capers, pickled garlic, and sour cream. The assembled bite was amazing and hardly “fishy.” There was a taste of salt, a bite of vinegar, the tang of capers and garlic, all smoothed together with a dollop of sour cream.
Small salads dressed in lemon and mustard vinaigrette had just the slightest bite. Warm sesame bread and butter did a good job of preventing any dressing waste.
For dinner, I took the server’s suggestion of duckling in a cherry sauce — an excellent decision. The duck, napped in the luscious bittersweet sauce, melted in my mouth. It also matched my medium-dry Riesling wine. The spätzle and red cabbage were traditional and superb sides. My husband quickly polished off his Hofbraühaus Schlachtplatte that sampled a smoked pork chop with whole grain mustard, along with bratwurst, knockwurst, sauerkraut, and the same spätzle and cabbage as I had. His meat also was exceptionally tender, flavorful and juicy.
As we ate dinner, we heard the dessert specials recited to our neighbors and knew we could not resist. Despite being full, we each got a different torte: Scott a “grasshopper” (mint and dark chocolate), and myself a hazelnut chocolate. Silken, buttery and rich, dessert left us with no regrets. Chocoholics will request these cakes in heaven, paired with the same perfectly prepared cappuccinos we sipped.
The total for this entire experience was a bit daunting at $123.90, but we didn’t regret that, either. The food was some of the best we’ve had in a long time, and the service went beyond impeccable. The Vienna is not a normal date night destination, but it’s where you want to go when you want something magical.