“I can’t believe you call what you’ve been feeding me stuffed cabbage” said my husband as he hovered over a plate at Restaurant Pyza in Greenpoint.
I thought I made good stuffed cabbage (golabki in Polish). I learned to make it by trial and error with a few tips from my Polish grandmother Harriet (Jadwiga before she Americanized it). She seemed to like it, although after hearing Nick’s opinion on the subject perhaps she was just being kind.
I boil the cabbage whole like she told me, then gently remove the tender leaves. I add sweetness to the tomato sauce like she told me (although she actually told me to use straight up canned tomato soup). I use more meat and less filler than this peasant dish requires and still it’s not enough to compete. That was some damn fine stuffed cabbage.
Restaurant Pyza is doling out Polish food like grandma used to make in the very Polish neighborhood of Greenpoint, NYC. Although I don’t speak Polish both my grandparents do. My uncle is pretty fluent and my mom knows some important words (many food related of course). When I walk into a place like this that smells and sounds so familiar I wish I could complete the puzzle by ordering in Polish. The good news is I don’t have to in order to gain access to the food.
The menu at Pyza is on the wall…half in Polish…half in English. The names of 40 or 50 dishes stare down at you from the board. Pierogies, blintz’s, potato pancakes. Goulash, veal liver, cutlets of different meat. Stuffed cabbage, hunter stew, borscht. The list goes on and most everything is in the $5-$7 range. You walk up to the register, order your dish, choose your side and wait to be called. Then you grab your cafeteria tray piled high with food and chow down. It’s a thing of beauty.
Nick and I have only scratched the surface but everything we had here was fantastic. Pierogies, cabbage, sides, salads all fantastic. I’ll return for the hunter’s stew because after a recent trip to Budapest I’ve got a taste for things of that nature. I’ll probably order the veal liver because it’s a gift from the meat gods.
There is no real “service” to speak of but the gentleman behind the register was very nice. The dining room is bright and clean but that’s about it. Let’s just say you don’t go there for the ambiance. There is plenty of seating and it’s cash only. The menu is the same for lunch or dinner. We went for lunch and didn’t need dinner after consuming a mountain of delicious Polish grub.
Next time you’re trying to decide on Indian or Chinese, Thai or Italian, why not throw Polish into the mix, head to Greenpoint and see what you’ve been missing.