Before you start getting warm and fuzzy over the idea of your grandmother's and mother's meatloaf recipes, or three generations or more worth of comfort food, lovingly presented to your family, let me stop you. We are not talking about the American staple made of ground beef. We are wandering into the realm of familiar words used in a foreign country to describe something very different from your normal frame of reference.
The item I ordered from the menu, at a small family run delicatessen, that incidentally was owned and operated by three generations of butchers in the Austrian city of Melk, were technically loaf shaped, and made of meat, but entirely different. To their credit, I think the younger members of the family knew the joke was on English speakers and were most likely the translators of the German menu into English, since they seemed fluent when speaking it.
I can't say I was completely surprised when the "Meatloaf Trilogy" arrived at the table, because I had seen variations of these loaves all over Austria, and had been tempted to try one. More like Mortadella or its American counterpart, baloney, these were meat products obviously made from pork and pork fat.
The loaf I had noticed most often was spotted not with fat, but with cheese. What surprised me the most was that they had been cooked. These could easily have been thinly sliced in their cold state for a sandwich. This cold cut was very good served hot. The selection was a loaf made with either cheese or pickle and pimento, or just plain. Served simply with some mustard and potato salad, the meal was both filling and tasty.
As long as we're already here, let's discuss the Josef Sdraule Restaurant on the same premises as their butcher shop. The space was old world to the core and charming with walls lined in wood paneling, antique light fixtures, and a menu that didn't break the bank. In fact the most expensive item was Fried Chicken for 9.5 euro.
The warmth, as well as the charm, of this family run restaurant, continued with the old stove that kept the room cozy on a seriously cold afternoon. Beer helped to lift
Oh, about that chicken dinner; it was pretty filling for under 10 euro. And the Meatloaf Trilogy at 6.9 euro was a steal.
3390, Melk, Austria
Phone: +43 2752 52447