For all the fans of the “Edi-Bills Restaurant Reviews: The Gourmand’s Guide to Restaurant Reviews” I offer a hearty apology for the sabbatical I took in 2008. Some would call my journey a “walkabout” as I found my way in the world.
Well that journey has landed me exactly where I started and I can think of no way better to re-launch Edi-Bills Restaurant Reviews than to have my Mormon lawyers take me out to lunch at the East Village diner, “Little Poland Restaurant” at 200 Second Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets.
Walking into the diner at around 1:30 (My lawyers work on Salt Lake City time) I was struck at the fact, not that there were more employees than diners, but that with the exception of the five people in our party every single person in the establishment was speaking Polish; from the bespectacled man at the first booth to the short order cook whose appearance, right down to her incredibly long, beefy arms, could have been an imperfect clone of Celtics great Kevin McHale.
But in a venue such as Little Poland, it is not about the defensive abilities of it’s line cooks, but about the authenticity of it’s food. And from what I heard, Little Poland was a slice of Warsaw with one of my Mormon lawyers having Polish heritage.
It was at Stanislav’s insistence in fact that we got two orders of pierogies for the table…one potato and one cheese. Given the option to have them boiled or fried, we selected fried.
After providing a basket of napkins and cutlery for the table our waitress took our orders. For an entrée we all ordered the “Kielbasy” either boiled (as I opted) or fried with varying side dishes. My choice was for the boiled potatoes and, at our waitress’s recommendation, sauerkraut.
While the sun was above the yardarm, since it was a gaggle of Mormons were footing the bill I eschewed my typical tipple. Instead, for my beverage I chose Kompot, described on the menu as “a home-made fruit drink.” It appears as though “home made fruit drink” is Polish for “pear juice with grenadine and grapes.” In all honesty it was a pleasant enough beverage with peeled grapes and pear chunks floating inside. To be frank it tasted like the juice one finds in a can of Del Monte fruit cocktail. Stanislav found the grapes to be far too soft after their soak but I did not.
Our pierogies came soon after and boy did they look good. They were plainly presented on a plate with a spoonful of sautéed onions atop and sides of sour cream and applesauce. I was struck in my first and subsequent bites by the dearth of salt. Apparently the chef’s salt cellar is eight feet away and therefore just out of her grasp. Also, it was soon apparent that our order was fresh from the fryer as a pool of oil large enough to attract the attention of Halliburton was noticed.
With a diner’s turnover based precision our entrées soon arrived. Well, that’s an exaggeration as 60% of our orders came. Two were delivered a good 3-5 minutes later. Brigham’s ordering of the potato pancakes explained one of the delays as the menu clearly states that 15 minutes must be afforded for their preparation. However, Maries having to wait for her order of a salad and half a boiled kielbasy left us scratching our heads.
While waiting for the straggling entrees to arrive Jerzymiah Johnsyn walked in with his Afghan hound wearing “Grandpa” Jones’ hat and a coat made out of a bear. Apparently frightened by this Jagiellon mountain man he sat with his “helper” dog unfettered by city health ordinances.
Nevertheless, as for my dish it was quite attractively presented. In addition to what I ordered mushroom gravy was also included. Unfortunately the cooks forgot to season it properly. A modicum of salt at any stage of the creation could have done wonders for that poor sauce. Instead it was mundane.
The sauerkraut, something for which I have never had an affinity, was actually quite nice. Magda our waitress earned points for that suggestion. As for the potato? It was a boiled potato – pretty much a bullet proof dish. Everyone at the table agreed the kielbasy was ably cooked in both the boiled and fried form.
Lastly to the service, they were amazingly sweet but not all that attentive. Especially when considering the number of customers (mountain man aside) that was a little hard to swallow. Overall, this place is an okay spoke to get your kielbasa fix. (They are also open for breakfast and as it is known from Krakow to Warsaw that nothing is better than eggs with kielbasa you might want to try then.) Little Poland Restaurant received two Traggis on the Traggis Scale of Restaurant Recommendation.
Little Poland Restaurant
New York, NY 10003
Phone: (212) 777-9728