For several years I have been staying at the Hotel Graben, while visiting Vienna (a couple times every year). However, I never at at their Italian restaurant. On my latest visit I promised myself before arriving in Vienna, that I would eat at Trattoria Santo Stefano, and am I ever glad I did!
On my first evening in Vienna, I left my room and went to the restaurant. I was warmly greeted by a host/server, who showed me to a table. He took my wine order, however, then another server, Helmut, took over. I ordered the salttimbocca and decided to also have a small salad. The original server made my salad at a salad station, and it was fabulous! They don't simply grab a pre-made salad out of the refrigerator ----- they make you an excellent salad from scratch, and because I was sitting near the salad station, I could see it done.
The main course was excellent, and I was stuffed.
For some reason, I really wanted something "sweet" to end this meal, but I wanted something very light. So, when Helmut came back to ask about coffee and dessert, I that I knew it is not on the menu (I speak German)but would it be possible to have a "Weinschaum" (sabayon). He immediately replied, "Oh,a sabayon. But of course. Would you like that with white wine or maybe a marsala? It really is better with marsala wine." I opted for the masala version. Helmut explained that the kitchen is happy to take care of special requests when they are not too busy.
He later came back with the sabayon, and it was superb! I asked him if he suggested the marsala sabayon, because that makes it a little sweeter, and he said that is exactly the reason.
You can always judge an excellent restaurant as such, if they are willing to prepare you something, which is not on the menu ---- and do it with a smile.
On my fourth and final evening in Vienna, on this trip, and had another great meal in Trattoria Santo Stefano. And for those who only speak English, don't worry, I saw the servers being gracious to a couple tables of English-speak guests.
And, yes, I had another sabayon for dessert. A Viennese man sitting at a table next to me with a friend commented on it, when it was served. He said (in German, of course), "Oh, you ordered a sabayon, correct?" And then he nodded in approval.
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