A Goose from the Dark

Location:zuckergoscherl am Rochusmarkt
Address:Landstraßer Hauptstraße 41-43, 1030 Wien
Status:Open (last checked on 4 December 2020)
Eaten:Gansl (take-away)

The zuckergoscherl (they seem to like writing their name in small letters) made news a couple of days ago thanks to their reaction to the government’s upcoming plans to ban the sale of alcoholic drinks for take-away. The reaction was, “The last weekend of booze! Come and enjoy wine, beer and punch for the last time,” which, I must say, is completely reasonable.

I don’t know if there was a connection, but today the café operated in a lights-off mode. There were quite a few people enjoying drinks outside, but the windows of the café itself were completely dark, and only occasionally someone would come out with a tray to distribute more drinks. Anyway, the drinks were not my top priority (although I could not stop myself from trying a punch), for I came to pick up my sous vide goose, and it was handed to me in nearly complete darkness.

As usual with sous-vide dishes, the zuckergoscherl’s goose came with an instruction sheet, which I followed carefully, including boiling the potato dumplings, and got lazy only when it came to warming up the sauce and the red cabbage (the microwave did the job perfectly). According to the instructions, the goose itself required 15 minutes in the oven at a medium temperature and at least 5 minutes more at a higher one. The bird did not look brown enough after 5 minutes, however, so I left it roasting slightly longer.

The result was strange. The skin got paper-thin but not very crispy, the layer of fat underneath remained intact, while the meat was so tender and not goose-like that for a short while I had a feeling it was undercooked. It was not, of course, but the texture was quite different from what I was used to. Looking back, I think I simply got too accustomed to “organic” and “grazing” geese, while this poor animal was neither in its short and, I hope, relatively happy life. The leg was not even particularly big – enough for a proper dinner, but not as big as to make one immobile for the following hours.

Whereas the goose left me a bit perplexed, the side dishes were top class. The red cabbage left a slightly burning aftertaste in the mouth; I don’t know if that was pepper or something else, but it was brilliant. The potato dumplings, normally the most boring thing on earth, had some bacon inside, which immediate turned them into proper dishes. There were enough cranberries to keep for tomorrow’s breakfast toast (I don’t eat toasts though). The best, however, was the sauce: based on wine and oranges, it worked perfectly with the dumplings and, I am sure, substantially improved the goose.

Despite the imperfections, zuckergoscherl deserves a post-COVID visit, just to check whether there was some typo in the instructions. I hope it was not supposed to read 45 minutes instead of 15.




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