I hate to break it to you, Will, but the best meatloaf isn’t on the set of "Wedding Crashers," but here in Vienna at a plain-Jane neighborhood eatery called Rebhuhn.
Photogenic, it’s not. (But then, meatloaf rarely is.) But this wondrously moist mixture of beef and pork is seasoned with multiple fresh herbs (including intriguing marjoram) and offers lots of crispy bits on the well-charred crust.
What sets this meatloaf apart from a million others (including the darn good version I make myself) was the airiness of the meat. Partially because it was so fresh and partially because it was freshly and coarsely ground, the meat had great flavor and a lovely loose texture. The accompanying potatoes and carrots, roasted with butter until sweet and almost creamy, were equally impressive. Come to think of it, the price was pretty impressive, too: 8.90 Euro, about $10.
My photo, taken by fading daylight and the hanging street lights above (Rebhuhn doesn’t care about frivolities such as candles), doesn’t quite capture the all the goodness of this dish. But if you ever visit Vienna, you can see (and taste) for yourself.
Rebhuhn has been around for along time and looks it. (The minimalist Web site has a link to a (copied) restaurant review from 1908.) There’s a lovely patina on the old wood that envelops the cozy, simply appointed inside rooms. The dozen or so battered wooden tables and chairs on the sidewalk have been packed nightly during the recent heat wave. Rebhuhn's located on Berggasse (9th district), a stone's throw from the building where Freud lived and worked (now a museum). The restaurant sits catty-corner from the chic Café Porzellan on Porzellangasse (Porcelain Street)…creating a vivid example of how Vienna today successfully blends the traditional and the trendy.