Thursday, February 25, 2010

Polonia Polish Restaurant

Good Polish Food is here in Central Florida, thanks to Polonia. I have not been to Poland--yet (on my short list) but all of my ancestors came to the US from Poland between 1886 and 1907, and I know good Polish food when I have it. I had it again at Polonia on a recent evening.

I was fortunate to eat at Polonia wiht both my parents, two of my cousins, the husband of one--all from out of town, and a friend of mine on a recent Sunday evening. When we first arrived around 4 or so, the restaurant was not busy, but by the time we left, there were no available tables, a good sign and a testament to the good food. I've eaten here a good half dozen times and never been disappointed. Our dinner party of seven had a variety of tastes and a variety of dietary needs, and overall, we did a great sample of their menu, ordering everything from pierogi to gołubki to blintzes and potato pancakes, not to mention żurek, barszcz, and more. Everyone raved about their meals--none of us were disappointed at all.

Our waiter--a young guy with no discernable Polish accent at all--promptly took our drink and appetizer orders, then our dinner orders. He got it all right and had an amazing knowledge of the menu. I was impressed. I can't possibly comment on all the food we had, but I'll mention a few hightlights.

My friend Tommy ordered the soup of the day, a hearty Chicken soup. It was indeed excellent. A rich and creamy broth had nice chunks of chicken and vegetable in it as well as what I can only describe as mini-dumplings. The flavor was awesome, some of the best chicken soup I've ever tasted. I don't know if this was authentic Polish food, but I do know that it was very good food. 

For an entree, Tommy ordered the Chicken Cutlet--a tender piece of chicken breast that had been pounded thin, breaded and fried, and was topped with a garlic butter. It was absolutely delicious, tender and juicy with a nice crisp coating. For go-withs he had the Red Potatoes--sliced thin and pan fried--and the applesauce. This was not traditional applesauce as you may think of it, though. The apples had been grated and so had a lot of texture, not at all overcooked, and served cold. It was very, very good.

For her meal, my mother ordered a blintz. Being the great mother she is, she shared a piece with me. The crepe was nicely cooked and the filling was a delicious but not overly sweet cheese filling. There were strawberries to go-with as well, and a bit of sour cream to add to the flavor. This was very good. Someone else in our party had a blintz, too, and loved it. My mother also started dinner with a bowl of żurek, a white soup make with rye sour started and containing some sausage and a boiled egg. I had a taste and have had it before, it is excellent. I'd never heard of żurek until I ate at Polonia, but it is indeed quite a treat.

Several in our party had the gołubki and all enjoyed them. I got to sample some a day or two later as leftovers, and I agree, it was very good. A very healthy portion of meat and rice was cooked in a cabbage leaf and topped with a mushroom gravy. Another person had the potato pancakes, also a success story.

I started my dinner with a bowl of barszcz--it was excellent as always. Tender beets were grated and served in a delicious broth with a hint of lemon and a bit of dill and a dollop of sour cream. This was an excellent soup. For my main course this time I tried the Chicken Paprikash--boneless pieces of chicken thigh were served in a paprika-laced gravy/sauce atop a bed of kopytki, small potato dumplings. It was marvelous and i not only finished it all, but used my bread to sop up every last drop. Fantastic dinner. 

We had a great experience here, as I've had time and time before. Polonia is a real gem of a restaurant, very good authentic Polish food. I highly recommend Polonia to you. If you've never had Polish food before, try the sampler, it's divine and will give you a good idea of what good Polish food is like. There's a reason that Polonia has such a high rating on food!
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