Among Vienna’s fine dining scene, the Restaurant Vincent is one of the silent stars. The place exists for decades now and reflects nicely the evolution from a student’s restaurant to a high-class etablissement. Now patron Frank Gruber has hired a new cook – reason enough to go there again!
I’ve been to Vincent many times now, while young chef Peter Zintner was cooking there (see also this post). Zintner always played with experimental kitchen, audacious combinations and molecular elements. This was really fun – it often worked great but sometimes also not so great. Zintner changed direction, starting to cook at „Motto am Schiff“ and so a new cook was needed. Patron Frank Gruber hired one of Vienna’s enfant terribles, Peter Mayer, a cook who has changed workplaces a lot during the last years. Mayer is known for his temper, but also for his devotion to quality and great products. A cook, who has served his apprenticeship and presents elaborate dishes.
Some things have not changed at Vincent though, namely the friendly and very Viennese service by Frank Gruber and maitre Mario Raaber. Also the slightly chilly blonde waitress is still there 🙂
The inside is the same too, though I liked the pictues a bit more this time. And of course, the best-of-musical CD again 🙂 As covert they had some bread (nothing special) and butter (ok).
The amuse bouche was amazing, very distinct from Zintner’s molecular playground. A clearly arranged plate, with focus on the main ingredient. I liked the cured zander very much, it had the texture of glibbery bacon and a fatty, intense taste. Very clean, slightly fishy with distinct smoke notes and a hint of pepper. Great product! It came with a piece of citron that added a nice freshness. The wasabi mayonnaise was not necessary. For drinks, Mr. Raaber got us come champagne by Gimmonet, dry as a bone and very aromatic.
First course: This was presented as wild salmon, but given my expertise in fish, this was rather farmed one (due to meat structure and fat). Still – the quality was outstanding. For a ceviche the slices were quite thick, but this was actually nice since the salmon was rather raw. It was at the perfect temperature and literally melted on my tongue, setting free a pure and beautiful salmon aroma supported by a hint of lemon and wasabi. The turnips added a nice vegetal component and with their crunchiness also a good texture contrast. A highlight was the soup though, perfectly thick, mellow and nicely balanced. With this we had a Grüner Veltliner Federspiel by winery Sigl, with nice tobacco and flower notes.
Soup again 🙂 A beautiful chestnut soup was presented, with some black-pudding ravioli. Since I don’t eat black pudding (a religious thing), those were taken out. The soup was amazing, I love to cook chestnut soup myself – but this was even better than my own, very soft and creamy texture with nice notes of nutmeg, maybe a little cinnamon or clove. It was paired with a great Riesling Smaragd Kellerberg by the young winery Harm, that was quite massive with a lot of tropical notes – amazing.
The main course was maybe the best piece of veal, I’ve ever eaten. Again, very reduced to some main ingredients, very clear setting on the plate – very convincing. Intense, juicy meat – perfectly medium (low temp/sous vide) but not at all boring. It came with a semolina soufflé (OK) and some vegetables. The meat was paired with a perfect sauce – not this endlessly reduced juicy stuff, but the real deal: light, savory with a lot of taste. It had just the right balance between bitter, salty and sweet notes. The salad burnet was a rather unusual vegetable, with it’s intense green and bitterish taste it gave a nice variation. This course came with a 2008 Commodor red cuvee by Nittnaus, a very elegant and perfectly matured wine.
For pre-dessert, they had a light and fruity creation. Not really complicated, not really astonishing – but a nice intermezzo. The curd was solid, topped with a fruity and sweet gelée. The kumquat with it’s fruity bitterness was excellent though.
The actual dessert was a nice piece of Patisserie. A tarte with a semi-solid filling of Valrhona chocolate, topped by some fruits and white chocolate cream. A flawless classic, that tasted finger-licking good. It was paired with a PX sherry, in my view not the perfect match (port would have been better with this). But we also got one glass of 2006 Chardonnay Ruster Ausbruch Essenz by Feiler-Artinger – a flawless Sauternes from my home-province Burgenland.
As a small aftermath, we got some petit fours – especially the white one with white chocolate and orange filling was AMAZING.
All in all, it was another great evening at Restaurant Vincent – we spent a great time there, with great food. The new kitchen line is definetely worth visiting the place, as is the nice service. In total we paid 180€ (2 persons, including covert and wine pairing).