Chicken Paradise

Location:Grüass Di a Gott Wirt
Address:Sieveringer Straße 236, 1190 Wien
Status:Open (last checked on 29 July 2023)
Eaten:Spare ribs, small salad, three beers (Puntigamer)

For me, Grüass Di a Gott Wirt will always be my third Austrian restaurant. The number one was Gasthaus Juranitsch outside Vienna (it has changed owners twice since), where I ate my very first Wiener Schnitzel and drank my very first Krügerl – for 70 and 26 schillings respectively) and dined numerous times with my family afterwards. The number two was Strandcafé, which introduced me to spare ribs (for 130 schillings to start with). The third one was Grüass Di a Gott Wirt, where I stopped an uncountable number of times during the early days of my “unhealthy hiking,” walking from Kahlenberg or Cobenzl to Sievering or Salmannsdorf. I have a feeling I ate my very first Martinigansl there too, while being completely ignorant of the entire Martinigansl tradition.

As you can imagine, Grüass Di a Gott Wirt has a lot of nostalgic value for me, and it is nothing short of a miracle that it is still open in its original form. This original form is extremely simplistic: it’s a small hut with a large garden featuring an outdoor grill, plenty of junk and dozens of chickens, freely walking around. If one is unlucky, one’s lunch can be completely spoiled by a stupid rooster crowing continuously and highly annoyingly.

I remember the time when Grüass Di a Gott Wirt served a Brettljause (not anymore, which is probably for the better), but today I visited it specifically for its spare ribs, which are not on the standard menu and are only served in summer providing the weather is nice enough to operate the grill.

One can easily feel the difference a real coal grill – even a basic one – brings. It starts with a pleasant smell of burned meat, even before the ribs reach your table. The ribs also look fantastic, leaving no doubt about the way they were cooked. Their look reminds me of the better days of Strandcafé, before it went all high-tech and expensive.

It is unfortunate that taste-wise the Wirt’s spare ribs are not in the same league with Strandcafé’s. There is no special marinade to speak of here; the ribs have clearly been bought pre-prepared from a wholesaler and simply finalized on the grill. Lacking the marinade, they don’t particularly taste of pig; rather, they don’t really taste of anything. When you bite off an especially burned piece, the taste is rather nice, but most of the time, the taste comes from the sauces. Thankfully, one of them – the spicy red one – is quite original and tastes good. The white creamy one is not strong at all, but I was happy to not find it garlicky. The sauces of Strandcafé, fantastic as they are, can easily destroy your nights because of their reliance on the famous vampire-repellent vegetable, while the Wirt’s weak white sauce is not going to negatively affect your sleep.

Unless you order a salad as a side dish (which I would recommend), you are going to end up with a baked potato as the only side, and there is nothing wrong with that. Potatoes prepared on a grill taste very good and are guaranteed to be fresh (there is no such thing as a wholesaler-pre-cooked potato). As for the ribs themselves, I don’t think you will be disappointed, but mega-impressed you will not be for sure. On the other hand, you should definitely appreciate the restaurant’s fair pricing policy: half a portion of the ribs cost mere 11 euros compared to 21 euros for two racks – other restaurants would seldom give you such discounts. More importantly, however, I hope you will simply accept that places like Grüass Di a Gott Wirt are essential to Vienna and therefore come back again. I think the next time I am there I am going to order a chicken Schnitzel. Just to piss off that annoying crowing cockerel.

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