A Countryside Tavern Goose

Location:Gastwirtschaft Zum Ockermüller
Address:Hauptstraße 37, 3420 Kritzendorf
Status:Open (last checked on 19 November 2017)
Eaten:Martinigansl, goose liver parfait, two beers (Schlägl Doppel Bock), 1/4 white wine (Steirischer Junker 2017, Weingut Florian), a Nußschnapps

Funnily, I found this tavern by looking for a restaurant in a totally different town. OK, the town I wanted was not far away, just across the Danube, and it would have taken me half an hour to walk there had there been a bridge. Without one, it’s a one-hour train journey.

From Vienna, it’s more of a 15-minute journey plus 10 minutes of slow walking. And the result is worth it. It’s a small, urig place, not particularly beautifully decorated, but with extremely friendly staff, free wi-fi and the overall atmosphere that gives you an assurance that the food will be good. There are two menus: a fixed one, with rather standard Austrian dishes and a daily one – and when I say daily, I mean it, because the date is printed on the page, – featuring an impressively cheap three-course lunch menu and a selection of interesting stuff the cook could come up with.

The thing I was interested in was the goose, of course, since the picture on the restaurant’s web site showed a very appetizingly cooked bird. To my delight, the goose that arrived on the table looked exactly the same as the one on the picture: freshly grilled and made with love and attention to detail.

The very first bite confirmed my expectations. The skin was thin and crunchy, and the meat underneath was tender, well cooked and actually tasting of goose. It was great to have the sauce brought in a separate jug (which I immediately emptied over the goose) as well as to see some sweet chestnuts and apples on the plate.

Unfortunately, Ockermüller has also made a fatal mistake that will possibly prevent it from being crowned the goose of the year. It decided to put the goose on top of the red cabbage. As a result, the sauce I poured over the goose’s skin dripped off it and went straight into the cabbage, where its effect got totally neutralized by the cabbage’s rather mediocre taste. Without the sauce, the meat got dry really quickly, and each subsequent piece appeared harder and harder to chew and swallow. Considering it was a big piece of goose, other deficiencies started to reveal themselves, too, such as the lack of salt and the disappointing blandness of the promising-looking dumpling. Had I known this beforehand, I would have left the sauce in the jug and simply dipped the pieces of meat into it.

Still, it was a good Martinigansl overall, shadowed by the goose liver parfait that was simply outstanding. However, I left with a feeling that the potential of Ockermüller was not fully exposed by the goose. I’ll be back for a Brettljause soon.

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