Blaue Gans (Blue Goose)
Last week, I was so pleasantly surprised to receive a note in response to my Cafe Sabarsky blogpost from a longtime employee of the restaurants’ corporation, KGNY. It’s nice to put a name to the number of “web cookies” showing in my site’s analytics, especially when that person is connected to a restaurant I’ve (fondly) reviewed. And the reciprocal marketing works – the email incentivized me to arrange my next date with the ladies who introduced me to Sabarsky at Blaue Gans, another KGNY restaurant in Tribeca.
After rolling home in pain just an hour ago, I think it’s safe to say I’ve eaten more Austrian food in the last two weeks than I have in my entire life. I say that with no regret of stuffing myself. Every bite was rich, heartwarming, and filling. The food at Blaue Gans is cooked with history, tradition and soul, and the waiters express contagious passion when serving it. Detailed explanations and smiles come with every dish that arrives to the table, and curiosity about the food is very much encouraged.
Lauren, Austin, Sara and I sat on one of the long benches outside the spacious restaurant to enjoy the warm evening air – one of New York’s assets that I honestly live for. The outside bench served an even better purpose than letting the breeze touch my face, though: a huge working space to properly lay out the ridiculous amount of food that we ordered and were served compliments of the house, thanks to the incredibly friendly staff. Instead of thinking through our order and how it all fit together, when the waiter came, we called out every item that seemed remotely interesting. This I look back on as the starting point of our demise.
lipataur (definitely the opposite of the heart medicine)
First came the liptauer – a quark cheese spread with butter, paprika, and onions served with thick poilane-esque sourdough bread. I love anything with cheese, but this was brightly colored, flavorful, creamy, and light – unlike any typical cheese spread I’ve tried before. My dad would have loved this.
smoked trout tart
asparagus beautifully plated
sausage sampler…or the four of us spooning
Then came the pretzel. Then the smoked salmon torte, the cabbage salad, the green asparagus, the blood sausage, the sausage sampler, the spätzl, the pork schnitzel, and the white asparagus special. Yes, there were only four of us, and yes, we ate everything save one inch of the pretzel. And we all had our favorites – mine was the intensely flavorful smoked trout palatschinken torte, which was served as a wedge of thin crepes layered with generous chunks of delicious white fish and horse-radish creme fraiche next to beets and drizzled balsamic. And though I’ll always have a spot in my heart for Blaue Gans sinfully creamy spatzl with bright spring vegetables, I think my next favorite were both the green and white asparagus, which were perfectly cooked. The green asparagus were prepared with marinated chopped tomatoes and microgreens, while the white asparagus was much more decadent with potatoes and a creamy sauce reminiscent of hollandaise.
Blood Sausage – Lauren’s fave
schnitzel with spätzl – say that five times fast.
The “jäger schnitzel,” which came recommended by my blog correspondent, was pretty much my dad’s heaven: thin pan-sauteed pork finished with cream, mushrooms, veal broth and bacon. But not just any bacon – a generous heep of thick, crispy chunks of lean cured meat. Next time I’ll have to try the veal schnitzel.
apple strudel – a non-distant memory
The madness didn’t stop with our entrees. Nope, all of us came knowing we had no choice but to order my favorite – the apple strudel. How could we leave it out after our romantic experience with the pastry at Cafe Sabarsky? And given the overwhelming variety of options, we had no choice but to try something new. After much debate we requested the “eis kaffee” - a sundae with vanilla ice cream, espresso, coffee, and whipped cream. Little did we know that the kitchen would send, along with strawberry cocktails, the other options we were contemplating – a chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut and caramelized bananas, a lemon-basil mousse filled with mixed berries, and the salzburger nockerl, a wonderful dish of warm poached huckleberries and a cloud of meringue inspired fluff. We became the perfect eating partnership as we each gravitated to different dishes. Lauren focused on the marshmellowy white souffle, Sara daintily hacked at the lemon-basil mousse, I aggressively tackled the apple strudel, and Austin gulped down the remains of the coffee sundae. We all partook in the chocolate mousse.
We all knew the coma we were getting into throughout the process, but the knowledge of the consequences of over-eating is sadly never enough to stop me. What kills us makes us stronger, right? Pain is weakness leaving the body.
Given the service, the variety of food, the importance of dessert and the beautiful set up at Blaue Gans, I will no doubt return, hopefully with my father whom I know for sure would go crazy over this place. Definitely recommended for all occasions – heavy brews and dinner with friends, a peaceful night with the family, a business lunch, a date…any and all occasions seem to fit well with Austrian food and a solid operation. It’s not common to find a New York neighborhood restaurant like this one that truly appreciates and welcomes its customers – something you think would go hand in hand with owning a business so dependent on its consumers. So if you need to refreshed of the exclusive, swanky, overly hyped scenes that populate this city, this is the place to get your real-people fix.
Location: 139 Duane Street at West Broadway