Today marks Polish Independence Day, a holiday in which the public honors the sovereignty of the Polish state. As New York City is home to one of the largest Polish communities in America, sampling some authentic Polish cuisine is the perfect way to celebrate.
Traditionally, Polish cuisine has integrated elements from its neighbors. As a result, Eastern European Jewish communities largely influence Poland’s food. Though strongly rooted in tradition, the cuisine continues to develop and is influenced by other regions and tastes.
Steinhardt freshman Claudia Gutowski will be celebrating her national holiday by tucking into hearty pierogi, which are potato dumplings typically filled with meat, cheese, potato and sauerkraut. On of her favorite places to go is the East Village’s Little Poland (200 Second Ave.).
“I went in the beginning of October,” Gutowski said. “It was so cozy and it really felt like I was in Poland.”
With friendly service, generous portions and low prices by Manhattan standards, Little Poland can provide an authentic yet affordable Polish dining experience. On the menu are a range of Polish dishes, such as kielbasa ($5.95), which is Polish white sausage that is eaten with pickled cucumbers. Little Poland also serves Beef Goulash ($11.25), which is a slow cooked stew and borscht ($4.25), a beetroot and tomato soup. Bigos ($12.50), a seasoned stew made from sauerkraut and an array of meats, is also on the menu. If you are feeling hungry, you can indulge in a Combination Platter ($16.50), which includes four pierogies, one stuffed cabbage, kielbasa and bigos.
If you are not satisfied with Little Poland, try sampling the Polish cuisine at Lomzynianka (646 Manhattan Ave.). Tucked away in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint is a resolutely Polish neighborhood in which Lomzynianka resides. The bustling and welcoming restaurant provides a great atmosphere to experience Polish culture. Named after Lomza, a town in northeastern Poland, the restaurant offers an array of delicious food for moderate prices.
For appetizers, you can find many types of dishes such as borscht, breaded dumplings and kielbasa ($6), which comes in a hearty potato and sausage broth. For main courses, the restaurant offers rustic dishes such as boiled beef with horseradish sauce ($7.50), Veal Balls in Dill Sauce ($7.50) and Breaded Chicken Cutlet Stuffed with Mushrooms ($9). If you are still not full, Lomzynianka’s dessert menu includes gooey, cheese blintzes ($5.50), which are covered in warm blueberries, strawberries or cherries.
Whether you are Polish, American or neither, you should stop counting calories, loosen your belts and sample the delicious, authentic Polish fare New York City has to offer.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 11 print edition. Email Zoe Thompson at [email protected]