When I passed Taste of Europe II last week I was instantly drawn by the all-caps come-on for “Polish Pizza (You have to taste one)” and “lalidog (hmm…delicious).” Unfortunately meatier matters brought me to Ridgewood that day, so I had to save my appetite. This weekend I returned to see what TOE 2 was all about. I hope my colleagues over at Slice forgive me for skipping Polish pizza; the exotically named zapiekanki turned out to be a Polish spin on French-bread pizza, and didn't look all that special. Instead, I decided to concentrate on the more overtly Polish dishes.
First up was the lalidog. Unfortunately my photo lacks perspective because the lalidog isn't merely a single Polish sausage on a standard bun; it's two of them stuffed into a small hero along with lettuce, tomato, red onion and radishes. This hot dog as a full meal is dressed with mustard and ketchup. Folks from Chicago might not approve of a Polish sausage that gets within a mile of ketchup, but since I’m not from there I found it pretty tasty.
Next we had what I like to call the starch course. Clockwise from bottom are pzy, finger dumplings, cole slaw and gipsy pancake. Described on the menu as a "huge potato pancake stuffed with pork cubes with sauce topped with ice cream," I was particularly intrigued by the the gipsy pancake, or placek po cygansku.
Not surprisingly (and almost thankfully) ice cream was just an unfortunate mistranslation. The gargantuan gipsy pancake came topped with sour cream, and actually featured two dinner plate-sized latkes, or potato pancakes, sandwiching a Polish version of goulash shot through with plenty of pork chunks. The golden brown latkes did a bang-up job of sopping up all the rich sauce. The ovoid potato dumplings stuffed with carrots and ground pork, known as pzy, were also good, falling squarely into the stick-to-your-ribs category of Polish food. Thankfully those finger dumplings, also known as kopytka, or little hooves, were quite light. They're Poland's answer to gnocchi and came bathed in butter and caramelized onions.
For just under $20 we ate enough for an entire Polish soccer team, so there was no room left for the goofers advertised on the sign outside the restaurant. The name made them sound like the beatnik moniker for barbiturates, but they're actually gofry, or Polish waffles, and they would just have to wait for the next visit.
Taste of Europe II
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.