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The Measure of Kielbasa

Real Polish sausage is a lot more exciting than the nasty Polska kielbasa they sell at the grocery store

Mom and I split a "combination plate for two" on that visit, a $20 smorgasbord of Polonia's greatest hits. The only real disappointment on the plate were the bland golabki, or cabbage rolls. The stuffing inside the holupki (Ruthenian cabbage rolls) made by my mother and my grandmother is mostly meat with a little rice and seasonings. Polonia's golabki were white inside, with lots of rice and very little meat. Of course, you can stuff cabbage with vegetables, buckwheat, mushrooms or any of a zillion fillings into the rolls, so I'm not doubting their authenticity. I'm just saying they weren't my favorites.

The big dumplings called pierogi were much better. They come in three varieties at Polonia, meat and sauerkraut, mushrooms and sauerkraut, and potato and cheese. The meat and sauerkraut were my favorite -- they were especially lovely when eaten beside anything that oozed thick brown gravy, like the hunter's stew called bigos, which was included on the combination plate. Bigos is made by slow-cooking meats and sausages in a sauerkraut and mushroom broth until everything melds together to form a savory and sour Eastern European gumbo.

The plate also included a link of the previously dissected kielbasa, a slice of tasty meatloaf, a round of fatty roast pork and a luscious slow-cooked duck leg, which tasted like Polish confit.

Polonia's kielbasa and sauerkraut come on a sizzling Mexican comal, with a crock of mustard on the side.
Troy Fields
Polonia's kielbasa and sauerkraut come on a sizzling Mexican comal, with a crock of mustard on the side.

Location Info

Map

Polonia Restaurant

1780 Blalock
Houston, TX 77080

Category: Restaurant > Polish

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Polonia Restaurant

1780 Blalock
Houston, TX 77080

Category: Restaurant > Polish

Region: Outer Loop - NW

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Sour rye soup: $3.25

Kielbasa platter: $6.90

Combination plate for two: $19.90

Potato pancakes and goulash: $10.90

Cabbage rolls: $8.90

1900 Blalock Rd., 713-464-9900.

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A third tablemate ordered crispy potato pancakes that came with a bowl of hearty beef goulash to use as a topping. The combination was sensational, and there was so much goulash, we ladled some over our pierogis for good measure.

Desserts at Polonia are pretty basic. There's cheesecake, apple pie and the Polish donuts called paczki. Round and filled with a tiny bit of cherry preserves, paczki will remind you of jelly donuts, but with a spongier dough.

I didn't actually eat the donuts at Polonia. I took them home and had them the next morning. Two paczki, a leftover link of podwaleska kielbasa and a mug of hot coffee make a damn fine breakfast.

Those of us with Eastern European ancestors come down with a craving for this kind of food when the weather turns cold. If you are so afflicted, I recommend you stop by Polonia and down a pile of pierogis and a couple of pilsners. Then head next door to the Polish food store where you can buy yourself a proper kielbasa.

Tell them Tenacious D sent you.

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