Two posters met my eye just outside Burgstüberl’s entrance. The first one had a clipart picture of a goose and said “Ganslzeit,” which was quite reassuring, for eating a goose was the main reason I had traveled to Heidenreichstein, a distant town/village mere kilometers from the Czech border. The second poster, much less encouraging, said “Looking for a cook.” Still, I did not see that as a reason to turn back. First, there was an impressive castle and a nice lake behind me. Second, the main square – consisting mainly of a parking lot – was as neat as could be expected from tourist destinations somewhere in Tyrol or Salzburgerland. Third, and most importantly, I was hungry and really looking forward to eating a goose.
The first thought that crossed my mind upon entering the restaurant was, “Where are all the customers?” Maybe Burgstüberl should have hung one more poster, “Looking for clients,” next to the other two. I blamed my wrong arrival time. 15:45 is the time that is not anymore lunch but not yet dinner.
However, looking back, I cannot get rid of the suspicion that other people had known more about Burgstüberl’s goose than I had. It was not very good. OK, it was mostly acceptable, but certainly not something you would like to travel 150 km to try again. The meat was tough, and no amount of the strange light brown juice (conveniently supplied in a separate jar) could improve it. Moreover, the goose was full of small bones in the places where no bones were supposed to be, even according to my very limited knowledge of goose’s anatomy. And it was served with fresh onions, which have never been part of any Martinigansl recipe.
On a positive side, the cabbage was tasty despite lacking crispiness. The bland sticky potato dumpling, on the other hand, did not add anything. At the end, the most satisfaction came from the “Liwanze” that I had ordered for dessert. Normally described as a Czech pancake, at Burgstüberl it had a round shape, similar to a dumpling, but with no filling. The good taste came from the jam and the whipped cream it was served with.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, every year I fall victim to the fallacy that distant locations must serve amazing geese. While I don’t deny that there might be a miracle out there, Restaurant Burgstüberl is not one of them.