Gasthaus zur Oper, airy and modern and nearly Scandinavian in feel with its blonde wood and white on white color scheme, is not necessarily where you'd expect to find fried cutlets. Or where I would, at least, having imagined the traditional dish in homey but dowdier surroundings.
And their version is top notch: a wrinkly golden-crisp exterior with no trace of grease, pan-fried in clarified butter. Though pork is popular in the US and veal is traditional in Vienna, and definitely the most-ordered thing at Gasthaus zur Oper, this specimen happened to contain thinly pounded liver. Yep, liver. The schnitzel treatment works well for the strongly flavored organ meat; it can take the breading without disguising its true nature (I was originally given the veal ordered at my table and there was no mixing up the two after first bite.)
The cold potato salad was in a light, refreshing style, tart with lemon juice and creamy without the use of mayonnaise with minced red onion for a little more bite. I've never eaten schnitzel in its natural habitat (Berlin being the closest) so the accompaniments were surprising: lingonberry jam for sweetness (I thought that was more Nordic) and a glass bottle containing a mysterious sauce that turned out to be concentrated pan drippings, beef, I'm guessing. Gravy and berries work just as well for schnitzel as for Swedish meatballs.
Gasthaus zur Oper * Walfischgasse 5-7, 1010, Vienna, Austria