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Polonia Houston's Best and Only Polish Restaurant? Sounds Right.

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Polonia says it's the only restaurant in Houston serving authentic Polish food. Don't waste your time, however, on determining the relative veracity of this claim if you're in the mood for pierogi, stuffed cabbage, barszcz, bigos, etc. Theirs are amazing and your time is better spent eating than searching further.

Like many of Houston's best restaurants, Polonia possesses lackluster signage and a nondescript location. Its warm, almost kitschy interior adorned with provocative art and knicknacks is a delightful contrast, and once seated in the smallish dining space, flanked by an equally diminutive bar area, it's easy to stay

The facilitator for lingering at Polonia (which actually boasts swift service) is the delectable array of Polish comfort food classics such as over-sized potato pancakes, whose savory starch texture gets sweet and sour inflections from accompaniments of applesauce and sour cream, respectively.

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While waiting for this and the rest of your appetizers, it's also easy to fill up on thick slices of soft grainy bread that demand an equally thick layer of herb butter. Restrain yourself (somewhat) and save room not just for potato pancakes or (in colder months) sour rye soup, but also for the massively portioned entrees.

An order of golonka arrives with an intimidating pork shank whose tender meat pleasingly wilts from under the slightest pressure of a knife and pork. Polonia's version is cooked in beer and dressed with earth vegetables and piquant lump of horseradish. Ask for kazanka and you'll find that the deep black hue of this blood sausage is matched by an equally intense porcine flavor tempered mildly by the infusion of plump grains of rice.

These selections are well-executed and taste exquisite, yet still can't hold a candle ultimately to Polonia's "combination plate for two"--if "two," that is, are a pair endurance athletes preparing for an Ironman or Michael Phelps and his twin. Here's what you get to feast on there (and the next day, and the day after that even): buttery pierogi, overstuffed cabbage rolls, juicy kielbasa, "hunter's" (pork, sausage, and sauerkraut) stew, meatloaf that needs a wee bit more tomato, a wide slice of baked pork, two well-marinated duck legs, and the cutest puffs of mashed potatoes dusted with parsley.

Upon arriving home you are stuffed but oh so excited for leftovers and lunch.

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