The only thing I knew for certain that I wanted to have when I visited Vienna was Wienerschnitzel. Even more so than the famous Sacher torte. Never mind that Wienerschnitzel was actually concocted in France -- I was in Wien, so I wanted Wienerschnitzel.
The dish, of course, is the famous Viennese dish of veal scallop coated in breadcrumbs and fried to a crispy brown. Although veal is the traditional meat, a lot of places make it with a pork cutlet, including several Vienna restaurants whose menus I had studied.
I decided on Gasthaus Zu den 3 Hacken, an unassuming little restaurant on Singerstrasse inside the Ring. It’s not a rustic place but neither is it posh. There were white linens on the tables, but the napkins were paper. The floors are bare wood, and in the corner, a coat rack heaved under the weight of several winter jackets that had been draped over it.
My selection was made before I arrived. My guest decided on the goulash, which featured stewed beef in a big puddleof rich gravy and topped with a perfectly fried egg. Served with a softball-sized dumpling, the goulash was absolutely wonderful -- one of the best things I tasted during the 12-day trip that also included Prague and Berlin (and other variations of goulash).
My schnitzel was also very good, but ultimately fairly boring. It is what it is: there is not sauce or anything else to dress it up, simply a lemon wedge to squirt at will. But it was a good quality veal cutlet and the breading was nicely executed. It was served with the traditionalaccompaniment of potato salad.
We had started with an appetizer of steak tartare, which was only OK. Ultimately it was a bit too soggy for my preference.
I would return to Gasthaus Zu den 3 Hacken, but I would go for the goulash next time.
Gasthaus Zu den 3 Hacken is at Singerstrasse 28, Vienna. This link will take you to the restaurant’s Web site.