Monday, August 8, 2011

An Austrian Birthday at Blaue Gans

This year I had more trouble than usual choosing where to drag Paul for my birthday dinner.

Since turning 30 is, after all, something of a milestone, the place I chose had to be worthy of marking such an occasion. That basically meant it had to meet three criteria:
  1. The food had to be good.
  2. The restaurant had to be a place where we wouldn't go on a typical Saturday night.
  3. The bill had to be more than I would prefer to pay on a normal night out.
And that latter is coming from me, the world's biggest cheapskate. Nevertheless, if you can't treat yourself on your 30th birthday, when can you? Your funeral?

A day or two before my birthday I finally made my choice: Blaue Gans, an Austrian restaurant in Tribeca. I had originally expected to chow down on the Saturday after my birthday, but that plan stalled when Paul presented me with birthday tickets to "Anything Goes." We already had plans for the following Saturday, so my birthday dinner was postponed until July 30. That's OK -- there's nothing I like better than making my birthday last as long as possible.

I had chosen Blaue Gans ("Blue Goose" in English) specifically for two reasons. One: I was in the mood for schnitzel. What can I say? Some girls want diamonds for their birthday, others want fried pounded pork. The schnitzel with lingonberries and a side of cucumber-potato salad fit the bill. The schnitzel was crisp and just as good as I imagined. The potato salad was the real surprise, cool with thin slices of cucumber and celery seeds. Delicious on a hot night.

And the second reason I chose this restaurant: the dessert menu. I had looked up the menu beforehand and seen "Salzburger Nockerl." Intrigued, I Googled it. It's basically a meringue shaped to represent the hills surrounding Salzburg. How did I not hear about this in Austria?

The nockerl was served on a blueberry compote, and if I have to be honest, it wasn't all that great. Still, it was worth it to get a dessert that looks like the Austrian countryside. That was my birthday present to myself.

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