Odessa's Blintzes Eat Like Crepes, But We Love Them Anyway


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

When I moved away from Forest Hills I stopped eating blintzes. That's because in Forest Hills was Just Like Mother's, a Polish restaurant that happened to serve excellent blintzes, and if I couldn't have those poofy-but-not-pancakey blintzes, I wouldn't bother with blintzes at all.

But after decades of faithful service, Just Like Mother's closed a couple months ago, and no amount of heartbreak will bring it back. The prospect of a blintz-less life was too grim to bear, and as if it knew I was hurting, Odessa swooped in to help.

Odessa's bar closed this summer, but their diner is alive and kicking. Their eastern European food is by and large weak—bland pierogi, limp potato pancakes, unremarkable kielbasa—but their Blintzes ($7) are clear winners. The cheese filling, a sweet cottage cheese, has large especially large curds that are fun to make your way through, and the kitchen doesn't skimp on stuffing it in these massive pancakes.

The blintzes have a curious texture; really they have three. The edges are crisp and lacy, a little buttery from the griddle. Some spots in the middle suffer from the leathery browning that characterizes poor blintzcraft, but the bulk of the pancake is lithe and moist. The best comparison is a crepe: eggy, a little bouncy, and very thin.

Those textures make for an unusual blintz, but they work. While they may not replace what I had at Just Like Mother's, both from a nostalgic frame of reference and a more objective assessment, they'll do quite nicely, Odessa, they'll do.