2006_02_blaue4.jpgRecently, Gothamist had a craving for Austrian food, as cold weather and rich goulash are perfect together. Since we'd be wondering things were like in the former space that house Le Zinc, we headed to TriBeCa and had dinner at Blaue Gans. And today, the NY Times' Frank Bruni reviews it, and gives it 1 star! We'd have to say that 1 star is fair - it's a cozy and dim restaurant that's more likely to be another neighborhood option, versus a destination restaurant. The interior of Blaue Gans is basically the same old Le Zinc furniture - it's as if Le Zinc took a trip to Austria - which is a good thing. Unlike Bruni, we did not visit Blaue Gans over and over again to try most, if not all, dishes on the menu, but we think we did pretty good

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With a friend, we started with the red cabbage salad, which was really refreshing, as well as a juicy pork and beef sausage. Together, the two items could have been a meal in themselves.

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For the main, we had the beef goulash and spaetzle we were dreaming about, which was rich and luscious. We would have preferred there to be something even more than the spaetzle (which was delicious) to offset the richness of the dish, but that's goulash for you. We tried our friend's chicken schnitzel had lingonberries and potato salad, and the schnitzel was a revelation - the chicken was perfectly fried and incredibly tender and succulent.

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Something quirky is that the desserts are presented to diners not on a menu but on a little chalkboard, with the server explaining the various Austrian names. For dessert, we had the Sacher torte, with a side of maple ice cream, to give us a sugar rush all the way out the door- next time we want to try one of the more fanciful Austrian desserts.

Blaue Gans was crowded when we went, full of people happy to have their bellies warm and full, and it does not accept reservations. Blaue Gans is located at 139 Duane Street, (212) 571-8880. And here is New York magazine's Blaue Gans review.