Are places off the beaten paths the actual centers? The Herzig restaurant in Vienna
Do we have to lose our way to find our center? I recently asked myself this very question when I entered the Herzig restaurant in the former halls of Vienna’s Dorotheum in Vienna’s 15th district. What I experienced there on that Saturday night, beyond the conventions of culinary nightlife, truly impressed me. The Herzig is a place where cuisine, art, architecture, and humaneness merge into one unique aesthetic style in a fascinatingly natural way. I associated it immediately with my favorite restaurant in NYC, my home away from home. It simply overwhelmed me, and it is located right in Vienna’s Fünfhaus district – how strange is that?
I am sure you all know those moments in your life when you feel you simply and truly arrived somewhere. For me, it’s people, places, and activities that can trigger these moments. I feel instantly comfortable and all of my senses are heightened at once. I want to savor these moments and take them in completely. My stay at the Herzig was a feast for the senses for me: four hours of delights and inspirations. What they offer there is a top-class artistic performance well beyond conventional norms. One just feels that this is a place where someone does exactly what he wants – in this case it is Sören Herzig. And he does it with unequaled creativity, clarity, and strength. One would assume that a gastronomic concept like this would rather be realized in other places in Vienna but this is exactly where the Herzig would not fit in at all. This approach confirms my hypothesis that one should transcend the borders of the conventional to get to the true center. The Herzig is a place where you feel that someone has fully arrived at his very own center!
I was impressed, even though I am a very demanding guest. This is a blessing and curse for me personally. I would like to be a little more relaxed when it comes to my perceptiveness while visiting restaurants. But I have always felt a close bond with the gastronomic world since I was 15 years world because I used to work in that field and I still enjoy visiting great restaurants. That is why I have developed a keen sense for hospitality and that is also why I really do appreciate a harmonious overall experience that combines cuisine, service, and space. The quality at the Herzig is out of this world but it is never aloof. I am not a fan of anything aloof. I love that Sören Herzig crossed out the word “fine” in “fine dining”. It’s only logical! When you truly found what you want to do you can offer the best cuisine in many different ways – a seven-course dinner for 135 euros and roast pork for 10 euros for lunch. Why? Because it is honest, it just works, and because you do not care about conventions when you are off the beaten path.
Ingeborg Bachmann once said, “The truth is bearable for man.” I associate this quote with the Herzig restaurant. Sören Herzig’s very specific truth about cuisine, space, art and hospitality is more than bearable for all people, it is a true pleasure! So, let’s leave the beaten paths behind us…
Many thanks to Sören Herzig and his team of Restaurant Herzig.
Photos by Markus Kufner