No doubt, the coronavirus and related lockdowns are a disaster for restaurants. However, unlike the first lockdown back in March, this time restaurants are allowed to offer take-away dishes, and many of them have embraced the opportunity, if only to get rid of all the geese they must have ordered for the St. Martin season. In fact, restaurants should be grateful to the lockdown if only for one thing: predictability. People happily order food one or two days in advance, so the restaurant knows exactly what to cook and by what time to have it ready. There is less waste, the meals are fresher, and the customers are therefore happier.
This is the theory, at least, and I am happy to note that judging by several “geese-to-go” I tried this season, many restaurants turn it into practice. Sadly, Selitsch, a traditional Austrian Beisl close to my home, is not one of them.
The aluminum foil-wrapped package was hot, which was reassuring (and it nicely warmed my hands as I was carrying it home in today’s chilly weather), but when I opened it, I immediately realized what was missing: a smell of goose. It did smell of something – otherwise I would have gotten really worried that I had caught corona, – but that something had nothing to do with geese. It was definitely something very old though.
Neither did the goose taste of goose. The meat was either undercooked or overcooked, for it broke into thread-like pieces easily, yet was very difficult to detach from the bones. Moreover, after a couple of minutes it became very hard to find. Weirdly, the goose leg was mostly soft disgusting skin, lumps of fat and tiny bones whose presence was impossible to explain.
I was very glad that when the goose was over, and having thoroughly cleaned the plate of all its remainders, I concentrated on the good part of the dish: the warm white cabbage salad with pieces of bacon and the bread dumplings. Maybe it was because of the contrast with the dreadful goose, but I found them really good. So good, that I would consider visiting Selitsch next year (if the virus goes away) and order the same salad with Schweinsbraten. I am going, however, to cross this Beisl off my list of potential Martinigansl places for quite a while.