On a bitterly cold January afternoon I walked into Polonica, a Polish restaurant in Bay Ridge. The wind had been blowing, and when I entered the restaurant my glasses immediately fogged up. Sitting at a table I struggled to shake off the cold. It helped that the menu noted which dishes were vegetarian, a trend I’ve been seeing more ofter at Eastern European restaurants around the city and one that I hope continues. There were no less than three borscht options on the menu, but only one is vegetarian: the Ukranian borscht. It was exactly what I needed to beat the freezing temperatures: piping hot, both sweet and savory, and hearty with mixed veggies. Beets, of course, cut into rustic chunks, but also bits of potato, onion, a lone kidney bean at the bottom of the bowl. It’s one of the best borscht’s I’ve ever had. I also got an order of assorted pierogies; the oversized dumplings boiled and served with sour cream and sauteed onions. The potato and cheese filling was smooth and mild, the sauerkraut and mushroom slightly sweet and a little tart, but the best of them all was the mushroom and potato. Walking back out into the cold after I was done the warmth of my meal stayed with me, at least as long as my walk back to the subway.
Polonica — 7214 3rd Ave