Of all the pierogi that New York has introduced me to over the years, it's the sweet cheese version that has really stolen my heart. Tangy, creamy, sweet, and cheesy, it straddles the line between savory and sweet, making it perfect to eat no matter the occasion. Here's how to make 'em at home.
'Polish' on Serious Eats
The fried sweet cheese pierogi is tangy, creamy, sweet, and cheesy, straddling a line between savory and dessert that makes it perfect to eat no matter the occasion.
This browned, bubbling, soul-satisfying winner of a winter dish brings warmth on a cold night.
This browned, bubbling, soul-satisfying winner of a winter dish brings warmth on a cold winter night.
Most tourists are too busy admiring the ornate pastel buildings of seaside Gdansk, Poland to visit the massive Market Hall just a few blocks away. Reminiscent of a nineteenth century train station, crowned with a wrought iron and glass roof, it houses an overwhelming selection of food vendors. You can fulfill your Polish food fantasies for paczki, herring, kabanosy sausages, and every variety of E. Wedel chocolate, all in one place.
Poke around the menu and you'll see that this decades-old Polish joint isn't just serving geriatric food. Their Bigos, for instance, is impressive, well worth an order at the counter.
Stepping into Karczma is like entering an Epcot Center version of a Polish farmhouse. Wagon wheel chandeliers and gas lamp fixtures light up a dining room that centers around a prop water well. The waitresses, costumed in billowy peasant dresses, push the vibe dangerously close to theme restaurant territory. Thankfully though, that's where the tacky facade ends—the kitchen is genuinely Polish, putting out food that rivals any other restauracja in Greenpoint.
In a city where most stands serve the exact same brands in exactly the same way, Parse's deserves a visit. The northwestern stand serves an incredible Polish sausage from nearby Harczak's Sausage shop.
Mabenka Restaurant & Banquets in Burbank serves a hearty mix of Polish and Lithuanian fare.
The sign crowning the awning of Eagle Provisions—whitewashed plywood with hand pained lettering in orange and black—seems like it's been there a long time. And it has: 34 years, an eternity in the gentrifying neighborhood south of Park Slope and north of Sunset Park. People come to Eagle Provisions for two reasons: its house-smoked kielbasa and its staggering selection of beer from around the world.
When it opened in 1992, Jubilat Provisions' neighborhood of south Park Slope was heavily Polish. Though the neighborhood has changed and is now also home to Latin American immigrants and native-born Americans, Jubilat's extensive selection of housemade, house-cured meats has kept the locals coming in for two decades.
Polish groceries are common in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood, but if you're looking for Polish baby food, or Polish laundry detergent, or those Polish candy bars you fell in love with the last time you were in Warsaw, you need to go to The Green Farms Supermarket.
After a meal here, you might not want to do much more than curl up with your date beneath a warm blanket. With its hearty, comforting fare, Krolewskie Jadlo is best for: a date you won't mind seeing in sweatpants afterward.
A few weeks ago we featured the kielbasa from Swiacki Meats in Port Richmond; this week it's a kielbasa variety from nearby Krakus Market, a full-service Polish grocery store and restaurant that also has a staggering variety of house-cured Polish meats and sausages.
Greenpoint is a rapidly changing neighborhood. It is home to one of the largest Polish communities in New York, and despite the artisan ice cream and Neapolitan pizza places that are opening up, you can still find good old fashioned (and un-trendy) Polish food. Lomzynianka serves up some of the city's most authentic, in an atmosphere that makes you feel that you're dining in someone's home. You seat yourself, the food is rustic and comforting, and the smell of dill wafts out of the kitchen every few minutes.
In trying to re-create my husband's grandmother's recipe, I was working from a version passed along from memory with possible translation errors. But I knew I got it right when I got an enthusiastic "Oh, yeah" from my from my husband. This is the bread the way he remembered it, and this is what I'm declaring the final version.
"...a platter of food here would have once been described as "wholesome;" Properly cooked meat, vegetables, and starch served on real plates with real silverware. It's something that was once the norm; both a family restaurant and a bar rolled into one."
[Photos: Brian Yarvin] There's a lament I hear so often, that I sometimes think I should carry an audio system for the sad violin soundtrack that goes along with it. You've probably heard it, too. "[This particular food] is...
[Photograph: Bon Vivant] There are all sorts of doughnuts in this world, but few seem to be as perfect filling delivery vehicles as these pączki, or Polish doughnuts. "Based on a yeast starter," according to this recipe from Bon Vivant, "the batter is then enriched with eggs, fat and flavorings before being filled with a teaspoon or two of your preferred confiture or cream and deep-fried to a golden hue." Related Celebrate Fat Thursday With Paczki, the Polish Jelly Doughnuts Spiced Buttermilk Doughnut Recipe Grilled Doughnuts, Better Than Regular Doughnuts...
Editor's note: It's time for another dispatch from Serious Eats community member BaHa, aka Barbara Hanson, who checks in now and again about the various one-of-a-kind food stores and markets in New York. Before I reached the top step of...