On Mondays, Alex, his dad, and I join in a food club of sorts, tasting different cuisines around the city at the awkward time between lunch and dinner. This past week, after a failed attempt at a couple of other places, we headed to Greenpoint, Brooklyn, for Polish food. I'm a Brooklyn gal, born and raised, but I have to admit that I'm pretty terrible when it comes to Brooklyn geography: there are so many neighborhoods that I know of, but have never visited. So, we drove into Greenpoint for this place that the Jagendorfs have visited before but really liked, Karczma.
When we stepped into the restaurant, I couldn't help but chuckle. It looked like I stepped back in time about 100 years, into a log cabin in some rural village in Poland. The walls were covered in wood panels. There was a little well in the middle of the restaurant for little kids to throw coins in. The walls were decorated with wooden sleds and crafts. The waitstaff waltzed around in traditional garb: black dresses with colorful piping. This was gonna be either really authentic or really hilarious.
The three of us ended up getting the same dish: a sampler of all their most popular foods, potato pancakes, a few pierogies, a little chunk of kielbasa, and stuffed cabbage. Turns out the food and the eating experience were really authentic. My favorites were the potato pancakes, crispy on the outside but not greasy or oily tasting. They paired really well with applesauce and sour cream. The kielbasa was also tasty: salty, meaty goodness. I wish I had a bigger chunk! I'd never had real pierogies before, but they were really the same as any dumpling in any culture, meat wrapped with a chewy dough and pan-fried. I couldn't tell what was in the pierogies - I think each had a different stuffing - but they were good. They also looked exactly like Chinese pot stickers, so I wasn't exactly impressed. Finally, I definitely have never had stuffed cabbage before. Before our food came out, I was wondering how you could stuff cabbage, but then I saw that a cabbage leaf wrapped around meat, et voila, you have stuffed cabbage. It was really interesting: the stuffed cabbage swam in a tomato-based sauce and was flavorful, but in the end I couldn't eat the whole thing.
Our between-lunch-dinner was really fun, not to mention filling. We ate at 3pm but I was too full to even eat dinner when I got home. I'm glad we tapped into part of Alex's heritage at Karczma. I think if we return, I'm going to ask them for a platter of potato pancakes and kielbasa, all for me. Mmmmm...