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Deuring Schlössle is renowned for its restaurant. In 1998, chef-owner, Heino Huber was named Austria's best cook.

We ate dinner in a nearly empty but attractive dining room (we may have been the only guests in the hotel). Tables are set well apart and draped with white cloths and napkins and topped with candles, real orchids and an array of glass and silverware. The room is partly in the castle's turret and there are deep window alcoves, herringbone floors and a low, dark wainscoting.

We chose the "surprise " menu in which each course was matched with an appropriate wine chosen by the house. The first, a flowery but surprisingly dry Wachau Riesling, came with quenelle-like goose liver pate, a slice of papaya and a bit of cranberry aspic. After a refill of the Wachau came a distinctly Asian Zanderfilet (pike-perch), with sesame seeds, rice vinegar, daikon radish, cabbage and cucumbers.

With a buttery, smooth lobster bisque enhanced with sesame seed oil and chunks of lobster, our server poured a sprightly, non-oaky Sicilian Chardonnay (Planeta 1997) which was perhaps the best pairing of the meal.

The main course was a wonton-wrapped filet of venison with Spätzle sprinkled with bits of apple and a sage-infused mixture of chestnuts and wild mushrooms. The accompanying red from Tuscany (1996 Vigna al Covalieri) faded in the glass after a promising start.

Pastry-wrapped vanilla ice cream draped with poached plums was served with a lovely, sauterne-like Austrian dessert wine: Weissburgunder Burgenland, Ruster Alesbruch, from the Neusiedlersee, just south of Vienna. This we polished off with the de rigeur plate of small pastries and candies.

The per person price for the food was about €42 while the four wines were €25. With mineral water and a €3 cover charge per person - not uncommon in fancy Austrian restaurants - we paid about $180 for two persons. At such prices, excellence is expected. In this case we had to settle for very good.