And now for something completely different… I love Parisian bistronomy, with its fresh seasonal ingredients and new, light takes on old favorites, enhanced with influences from foreign cuisines. But once in a while you just want to eat some serious, heavy comfort food. I have found just the place: Paris Polska.
According to my friend Perry, who discovered it, the owners are an American woman and her Polish husband, but they weren’t around on the day we had lunch there.
The decor here is down-home kitsch, with an “I love vodka” sign, an accordion and a guitar hung on the wall, and Polish rap and pop playing on the radio. The waitress was efficient but visibly annoyed (rolling eyes and sighs) by the way the five of us kept changing our minds about what to order, causing great confusion.
We finally settled on a whole lot of dishes, planning to share. The bowls of barszcz czerwony (a.k.a. borscht) came first, a light, clear, slightly acidic, slightly sweet broth with a few beef-filled dumplings, perfect for a summery day. Another interesting and delicious starter was oscypek z gruszka, little rounds of cooked smoked cheese served with a poached pear and what were described as cranberries on the menu but look more like lingonberries.
A plateful of pierogies with various fillings – potatoes and cheese, cabbage and mushrooms, and beef – disappeared fast, as did the salad with smoked herring.
The bigos (Polish choucroute with pork, sausage, wild mushrooms and potatoes) had flavorful, cooked-just-right sauerkraut, and the placek po beiszczadzku (goulash) consisted chunks of tender beef in dark gravy with potato pancakes. Yum.
Just one dessert was ordered, by the only member of our party who had eaten lightly (it certainly wasn’t me): szarlotka z lodami waniliowymi, a long name for apple pie with vanilla ice cream. The restaurant was out of ice cream, however, and the pie was more like a cake with a layer of apple filling, but it tasted just fine.
We drank flavorful Polish beers – Perla and Lech – with our meal.
Paris Polska is not a high-class gourmet restaurant, but if you are hungry and like good Polish food, I doubt if you could do better in Paris.