On saturday night the sidekick and I went out in the sleety snowstorm to a nearby Hungarian restaurant for some weather-appropriate goulash. It was the first time we’d been to this restaurant, and we were pleasantly surprised by the cozy wood-lined interior and the wide selection of interesting alcohol available. The waitress brought me a free shot of “St Hubertus liqueur”, and the meal was off to a good start.
Until we got to the soup. The fish soup served with my entree was the most disgusting thing I’ve eaten in years. Imagine chopping a fish – skin still on – into a pot and boiling it for an hour, then serving it in a little cauldron with a ladle so that when you scoop yourself some you get a “body parts from the bottom” effect a la Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. It was revolting, and I’m not easily revolted by unusual food.
At the end of the meal the owner came over to chat with us and give us more drinks, and when he found out that we hadn’t enjoyed the fish soup an awful silence fell. “I am very proud of my feesh soup.” he said. “Eet ees only feesh. Zere ees no teeckening agent, no flour, no cornstarch. Feesh only”. I believed him, and I don’t doubt it was an authentic Hungarian recipe for which I have not acquired the acquired taste. And I wondered, if there was nothing but fish in it, why it was red. Ugh. If the color was paprika, there certainly wasn’t enough to taste it.
I’d like to go back to the restaurant while it’s still cold enough for hearty food. It’s not their fault I don’t like authentic Hungarian fish soup, and I give them credit for not changing their cuisine to suit an Americanized palate. And the owner gave me free drinks until I had to beg him to stop, so I’m kindly disposed toward him.