Monday, February 13, 2012

Anna's Polish Restaurant

My parents were in town visiting and so we took them to Anna's Polish Restaurant recently. It was a smart choice as we had an outstanding meal there. I have been to Anna's a few times in the past, and the food this time was as good or better than any of those previous visits. I'll certainly be back, again and again, to enjoy the wonderful food, atmosphere, and service.

We had a reservation and arrived promptly on time at 6:30 PM on a Saturday night. The dining room, which is rather small, was pretty empty, but by the time we'd finished there were people waiting outside for our table, a nice testament to the great food at Anna's.

I started out with the Dill Pickle Soup. It was excellent! Basically a beef or chickent stock is thickened and cooked with some potatoes and carrots and cream, and also some dill pickle brine; then near the end of the process, ground dill pickles are added. The soup, though it may sound "odd" to some, is a delight, the tang of the brine and the creaminess of the broth, the crunch of the pickles, the softness of the potatoes--all add to make this a real treat. I loved this and will certainly try to imitate it some time.
I was the only one to have the soup, so quickly it was on to our main courses. Both my Mom and my friend Tommy had the Pork Schnitzel. A tender piece of pork loin had been pounded then, then breaded and fred to perfection. For a side, they had the potato pancake accompanied with applesauce and sour cream. Every element of this dish was perfect. The pork was oh so tender and only very lightly seasoned to let the flavor of the pork shine through. I'm not sure how they got it so tender, but it was cooked perfectly. The potato pancakes were not greasy at all, the potatoes were tender and they were very tasty. We all had a bite or two, and all agreed that it was about the best schnitzel ever.

I had the meat stuffed pyży, a dish I've had here before. It was truly outstanding. To make it, potatoes are cooked and made into a type of dumpling and then stuffed with a seasoned ground meat mixture. The whole thing is then boiled and served steaming hot with what I think was the world's most flavorful mushroom sauce/gravy. We all had a sample and everyone agreed that they were wonderful. The potato dumpling outside is soft and creamy, the meat inside adds some nice texture and flavor from the seasoning, and the gravy--oh, what can I say, it was awesome, nice and earthy and meaty with mushrooms, silky from the creamy sauce, a true delight!   

My Dad had the Pierogi Platter. Thankfully we enticed him into getting the large size so we all could have a piergi or two. I am not sure if they make their own, but no matter, they were wonderful, everything a pierogi should be. They were lightly pan-fried and served with some bits of caramelized onion as well as sour cream on the side. I had one of the meat pierogi, and it was fantastic, the meat was lightly seasoned, cooked meat (not ground), and tasted as good as any I've had in Poland (well, perhaps the ones my cousin Alicja made were a tad better, but these were darned close to as good as hers!). We all loved the pierogi. Of course, who doesn't love pierogi, right? 

Most of our meals also came with side items (besided the aforementioned potato pancakes), and they are worth of comments as well, because they were all so good. I'll list them in order from my most favorite on down, but all were very good. My favorite was a warm cabbage salad that had lots of dill and, I believe, some ground dill pickles in it. It was warm and had a very nice tang to it, perhaps they used some sauerkraut as well. It had a very nice heavy handed dill flavor to it, but the dill did not overpower. It was absolutely delicious.

Another tasty side was the Wazanki (Americanized spelling for łazanki, a traditional Polish and Lithuanian dish). It is a very tasty dish made with square pasta, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, and bacon, and sometimes also kielbasa. It was wonderful, a nice compliment to the meal. The pasta brought an element of smooth, the cabbage a bit of tart, the bacon a bit of savory and salty, as well as a bit of smoky flavor. This is another dish I will make one day, it was wonderful.

The last side was the Red Cabbage, pictured above behind my pyży.This was a cold salad of red cabbage, nicely cookeb but still a bit crunchy. It was also tender and tangy and quite enjoyable.

We could not get away without a few desserts, and so I ordered two, along with 4 forks and plates, so we all could sample them. The first was makowic, a tradtional Polish poppy seed roll. It was awesome, the poppy seed was flavored with honey and finely ground, and the dough itself also was rather sweet. It had a wonderful flavor, I'd buy this by the loaf and eat it all up!
The second dessert was something new to me, called pychotka, a walnut torte/cake. This was another "score," just like all of our meal was. There were several layers of whipped cream, a bit of a cake bottom, and a wonderful flavor of walnuts running through the dish. It was a delight in both flavor and texture. I will definitely have to search for the recipe on the Internet, it's worth trying to make myself.

Our service through the course of the evenign was great, the food outstanding, and the atmosphere friendly, inviting, and "Polish"--of course. I'd highly recommend Anna's to anyone wanting some fine Polish cuisine--they certainly deliver, and deliver well. Great job!
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1 comment:

  1. my god i have to come by soon i work down the street from here in oviedo