Rudi’s Beisl is one of Vienna’s most famous goose places. Year after year it was featured in the “Best goose of town” articles in newspapers and on the net, and year after year I ignored it – possibly, scared by the need to reserve far in advance.
And the reservation is a must. Despite the fact that the 19th of October is a very early date for a Martinigansl (most restaurants start to offer it after the Austrian’s national holiday on the 25th), this tiny restaurant was packed with people, all of them ordering the noble bird. The tables stood a bit too close to each other, the waiters kept on bumping into the back of my chair, and the noise was just above the level I find comfortable, but nevertheless the place was nice, and the clientele was refreshingly different, in a bohemian sort of way.
As for the goose, it was easy to see the reason for the high accolades. Unless the Beisl’s kitchen is significantly larger than its dining area, producing something like this was an achievement of great skill bordering with magic. The goose looked and tasted like coming straight out of the oven, with crispy skin, tender meat and even authentic burns at all the right places. There was surprisingly a lot to eat, too; in addition to a leg, I got a piece of the breast, so I cannot complain of leaving hungry.
However, great as the goose was, it could have still been much better, had the cook taken the effort of making it slightly different – by adding some subtle spices, perhaps, or maybe making the sauce thicker and tastier. At an extraordinary place like Rudi’s Beisl, one almost expects the goose to be somehow extraordinary. Instead, it was simply very good.
It did not help that the cabbage and the dumplings were not even good but average. Having two types of cabbage (white and red) and two types of dumpling (bread and potato) sounds like a great idea in theory, but with their taste being totally uninteresting, the variety brought no real benefit. At one point, I even stopped mixing the side dishes with the meat because the meat alone tasted better than the combination.
Still, if you are not claustrophobic or anthropophobic, have a good tolerance for noise and are eager for a generous portion of good goose meat not far from the city center, Rudi’s Gansl can only be highly recommended. It’s as good as the articles say.