Steinerwirt 1493. A-5700 Zell am See · Dreifaltigkeitsgasse 2
Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
Though many will contend that Wiener schnitzel is THE Austrian specialty, there are others who would argue for another quintessential Austrian classic – Tafelspitz. Literally translated as ‘tip of the table,’ this simple, yet amazingly powerful dish of boiled beef was the favorite of Austrian royalty, most notably Emperor Franz Joseph I.
Rightfully so, the Tafelspitz served at Steinerwirt is fit for a king (or emperor). This traditional Austrian dish consists of three thick slices of sirloin (from the beef’s hind leg) served in a pan containing an aromatic clear beef broth and a mirepoix of root vegetables – carrots, celery, and parsnips – along with chopped green onions. Two sauces complement the main dish – a bowl of apple horseradish sauce and a creamy sour cream and chive dip. Traditional accompaniments – roasted potatoes and creamed spinach – come with the beef in their own separate serving dishes.
There’s a certain authenticity to this meal. The portions are immense (enough to feed two) and, what’s more, the service is admirable and warm. First, a plate containing the apple horseradish and sour cream are brought to the table. Next, two metallic devices are placed on the table so as to elevate the forthcoming dishes. Upon service, a server meticulously places two slices of beef onto a spotless plate and carefully spoons the root veggies and side fixtures.
With its incredibly tender delicacy, the Tafelspitz is simply matchless. Although boiled beef may not sound appealing at first, one taste and you will be certainly be impressed. It’s clear that much time and care has been taken into preparing this meal. The meat is easy to cut through and simply melts in your mouth. It’s seasoned well too – good enough to eat on its own, but enlivened by the unique accompaniments.
The apple horseradish condiment is a delight. Freshly grated horseradish sits in a tray of applesauce. Though normally providing an intense and pungent kick of flavor, the refined sweetness of the applesauce mellows out the horseradish. The combined flavor melds well with the beef and enriches the flavor of the main dish. The sour cream and chive dip works well with the fixings on the side.
The creamed spinach greatly outshines the fried potatoes in both flavor and texture. Unfortunately, the potatoes suffer from a lack of seasoning. They are merely fried and topped with fried onions and cumin seeds. Giving the potatoes a nice roll in butter would have certainly helped its cause.
After finishing the meat, you are left with a copious amount of warm beef broth. Sipping the soul-soothing broth is a terrific finish to the hefty meal. The liquid is perfectly seasoned and the vegetables soft, but not overcooked.
Bearing in mind the rustic ambiance, the immaculate service, the titanic portions, the variety of elements, and the refined flavor of the dishes, 17.50 Euros for this grand meal is quite sensible. Unlike Wiener schnitzel, Tafelspitz is a dish that isn’t offered in every Gasthaus or restaurant. Tafelspitz is a dish that deserves respect and Steinerwirt does just that, producing a top-notch Tafelspitz experience that past emperors would certainly be proud of.