Tag: Polish

The girl from Łomża

Saturday, April 12th, 2008 | All Things, Eats

After months — maybe years? — of half-hearted planning, we finally set out in earnest to explore the Polish eats in Greenpoint, before the forces of gentrification (and the models) push the long-time denizens east to Ridgewood. For now, along Manhattan Avenue, there is no shortage of options nestled among the bakeries selling babka, the vodka-stocked liquor stores and shop windows announcing ”Polska Mowa.”

Lomzynianka (lahm-zhin-YAHN-eh-ka) on Manhattan Avenue is considered one of the better options for tasty and authentic Polish food at wallet-friendly prices, in an area where bargains can still be found. The restaurant’s name translates to “Girl from Łomża,” which refers to the restaurant’s chef-owner Janina Grzelczak who hails from that town in Poland, 80 miles northeast of Warsaw. This small, unassuming neighborhood joint is widely-praised for its hefty portions of meat and potatoes — a favorite with locals and food critics alike. Eric Asimov gave Lomzynianka the “$25 and Under” treatment in 2002. With a little planning, that princely sum probably could have fed four. With leftovers. Food blogger NYCnosh managed to satisfy three here with a budget of $20, including wine, tax and tip.

Entering the dimly lit dining room felt like stepping into the home of someone’s Polish grandmother: small lamps on plastic lace “embroidered” tablecloths, chipped and mismatched plates, fake flowers and… um, is that a deer head mounted on the faux brick wall? (Why yes, it is.) The half-Polish/half-English menu lists entrées starting at an astounding $4.25 for roast chicken with sides. The prices are almost impossibly low; there isn’t even alcohol served to help boost the profit margins. (Lomzynianka is BYOB — no corkage fee — and Dunne’s Polemost Liquors is conveniently located just up the block.)

Borscht is one of the specialties here, so I ordered a bowl of white zurek. Unlike in Ukranian-style borscht, beets are not standard; the white borscht is made from a base of fermented rye flour, usually added to a broth of boiled kielbasa. Lomzynianka’s piping hot version was creamy and rich, and buttery and slightly sour all at once, stirred in with a hardboiled egg and generous chunks of smoky sausage. And a bargain for $2.50.

Platter of steamed potato and cheese pierogis with a side dollop of sour cream — so filling, I could only eat a few:

The $4.50 polish kielbasa platter, which included vegetable (stewed cabbage) and mashed potatoes, topped with chopped dill:

This is warming and hearty comfort food but for me, too heavy for every day. Lomzynianka is a neighborhood treasure, though, and for those who crave simple and authentic Polish food — tonight we saw a colorful cross-section of neighborhood families, elderly couples, hipsters, students and young couples on dates — you’d be hard-pressed to find better for less money.

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