“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrarywise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” — Alice in Wonderland
After a visit to DOTS im Brunnerhof, I can say with conviction that there is no other place in Vienna quite like it. Entering this restaurant in Vienna’s 19th district is literally akin to drinking a magical potion, falling down a rabbit hole, and landing in a whimsical wonderland that has you asking “where am I?” over and over again.
If the name DOTS rings a bell, it’s most likely because you know of DOTS on Mariahilferstrasse in Vienna’s 6th district. How can you miss a place, after all, that says it serves “experimental sushi’? The slogan is what first drew me in nearly five years ago, when I was new in town and frustrated with my initial findings of this, one of my favorite foods.
What I found at the Mariahilferstrasse location (which, by the way, is kind of like a night club…really dark, chic, and modern) was that “experimental sushi” meant sushi as I knew it from some of my favorite places on the West Coast and in New York—-maki rolls essentially bursting with layers of texture, inventive ingredients, sometimes a mixture of both fish and meat, often “topped” or “finished” with a “glaze” or a “garnish”. Fancy-pants sushi. Hoity-toity sushi. Or as the Austrians might say, ‘schiki micki’ sushi. Now, I’ve since found many other places in town that serve up delicious sushi for reasonable prices, but since I hadn’t been to the Mariahilferstrasse location in a long while, I’d been meaning to make a return. Then I heard about its second location, randomly located deep in the 19th and became intrigued.
I could have never imagined what awaited me. The restaurant is on an unassuming street in a regal Stadt Villa, east of Grinzing towards the Danube. While there is of course indoor seating (similar to the other location…very much like a nightclub), out back is where you want to be. There you can sit under a majestic weeping willow tree in a courtyard full of whimsy with wafting incense, draped ribbons, hanging lanterns, flickering candles, a flowing fountain, and hypnotic tunes. A true retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown city life.
I went with a girlfriend and we started off the evening with a rose spritzer, complete with a little rose bud! How feminine! Sweet and refreshing, this was the perfect drink to sip on a summer night.
We arrived rather early in the evening, so we had the place to ourselves for a while before a steady flow of guests trickled in. After pouring over the menu and its selection of ‘it all looks so good’, we decided to order four ‘experimental rolls’ to share.
The Crunchy Maki: roasted onions, tuna and avocado
The Black Tuna: Black sesame seeds, poppy-seeds, tuna, and avocado
The Marilyn Monroll: Sake tempura, avocado, light chili sauce, and fresh pepper
The Crispy Ebi Roll: Shrimp, cilantro, mint, onions, cucumber, avocado, and chilli sauce
While it was difficult narrowing down the options, we chose oh so well with the above four. They were lovely. A future visit might see me ordering the Hawaii Roll (with pineapple!) or the Spicy Beef Roll. Though this isn’t a place I’d frequent very often, it’s definitely worth ending up at for its scrumptious sushi and enchanting atmosphere. So get to the nearest rabbit hole you can (otherwise known as the D Tram), head towards the 19th, and enjoy!
DOTS im Brunnerhof
Kahlenberger Straße 1,