Here is another ghost from 2020. The Gansl of Stuwer was one of my four pre-lockdown geese last year, eaten when the entire restaurant industry was beginning to wrap up. Not Stuwer though – somehow the restaurant managed to position itself very well as the provider of “sous vide” geese and achieved quite a fame during the lockdown time for allowing hungry Viennese enjoy their long-awaited birds at home. Despite the unlikeliness of a lockdown coming up again, the restaurant still intends to repeat the take-home offer this year, and its web site is already featuring appetizing pictures of roasted geese.
These pictures have nothing to do with how the dish served to me at the restaurant looked like. Furthermore, Stuwer’s goose these days has nothing to do with the dish I ate at the same location a year ago. Now it is bad, and at the price charged for it, unforgivably bad.
The portion was pitifully small. The leg looked as if the bird had died of malnutrition, or the cook decided to keep the best bits for himself. The skin was gray and completely undercooked. Deeper inside, the meat was actually OK, but it was over so quickly that there was not even time to appreciate it.
Not that staying at Stuwer longer looked appealing in any way. Whereas last year I ate my goose at a table outside, today I could realize how small, dark and crowded the inside of the restaurant was. The waiters were obviously not prepared for the inflow of customers, ran around overstressed and served slowly.
The goose aside, there was nothing exciting about the red cabbage and the potato dumpling either. The fact that the dumplings had a relationship to potatoes became clear only after studying the menu, for they lacked any taste and hardly had any texture, quickly turning into a sort of purée in the mouth.
I don’t know what happened to Stuwer in the past twelve months, but it is certainly not worth a visit now, unless you are on diet and like your geese small and unattractive. If somehow you get hold of a sous vide goose from Stuwer – as a gift from your friends, perhaps, – be happy, because even if you have no knowledge of cooking, you can probably turn it into a tastier meal than Stuwer itself did.