Far and Away

Address:Waldberg 8, 3841 Windigsteig
Status:Open (last checked on 26 March 2023)
Eaten:"Schmankerlhofplatte," a Salzstange, three 1/8 Grüner Veltliner

It is always strange to enter a Heuriger and find it completely empty. It is infinitely creepier to also realize that all but one table have been reserved. As you take your place at that table, morbid thoughts start to enter your mind. What if after eating your Jause you will never actually leave this place? What if your fate is to become a hearty snack for the next visitors, while your table will forever feature a “reserved” card bearing your name?

The fact that Windigsteig is in the ass of the world did nothing to dilute my angst. Imagine Schrems, which is a small town in the Waldviertel area of Lower Austria. Then think of Schwarzenau, a village of some 1,500 inhabitants about 17 km away from Schrems. Continue to Windigsteig, further 3 km to the north, population 921. Now travel a couple of kilometers westwards to Waldberg, population 49, at least 5 of whom are in the same Heuriger as you, waiting for you to order something. Had I known in advance that Schmankerlhof was actually a butchery, I would have run off. Very quickly.

As you can understand reading this, Schmankerlhof-Dangl turned out harmless after all. Looking back, I would have expected a much more interesting Brettjause from a place that had full control over its meat production. In reality, only the Blutwurst looked special and had indeed a particular taste that I did not particularly like but at least found unusual. The other meats, although very fresh, did not possess any remarkable taste. Most of their flavor was surpassed by the truly tasty just-of-of-the-oven Salzstange (a fantastic Austrian bread roll with big grains of salt on its crust).

I would call it a very Lower Austrian Brettljause: certainly done with love and nicely presented, but completely lacking a “wow” factor. The only “wow” here comes from the fact that the Dangl family manages to maintain this restaurant so far away from civilization and still serve fresh food and have a half-decent web presence.

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