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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Christina's Restaurant

The take-out menu at Christina's Restaurant reads Zapraszamy Na Śniadania Obiady Kolacje. Which, according to the “unique English-Polish bidirectional online full text translation system”Poltran.com, means:
“We invite dinners of suppers on breakfasts.”
But what does that mean? Is supper-on-breakfast one of those made-up Hobbit meals from LOTR? Was this place a BYO-Food pyramid scheme? Or had yet another bidirectional translation system let me down? The Porkchop Express decided not to sweat it, and assumed Christina was just inviting us to eat... so we headed inside.
Wall of Fame: Christina, restauranteur and patron of the arts, poses with Polish celebrities

Christina's promises “Home Cooked Meals,” and the atmosphere is pretty homey too. This is a genuinely relaxed place. The warmth is evident in everything from a thick entrance curtain to a friendly waitstaff. Add some exposed brick, discreet lighting, stained glass, and the dulcet tones of an artificial waterfall, and we were in the mood to kielbasa.

The owner Christina (from Krakow) is a patron of the arts. She keeps dozens of pictures with Polish singers, painters, et al on the back wall. Her restaurant opened about 10 years back, and she's met a fair share of celebrities in that time. Glamour, glitz, and not an entré over $7? Let’s get to tasting!
Polish Platter: pierogis, stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, hunter's stew, kielbasa

The Polish Platter ($6.70) offers a pretty good lay of the land, so we started there. The fried pierogis were tasty, served chewy and piping hot (mushroom/sauerkraut was best). Yet the bigos – slow-cooked hunter's stew of cabbage and multiple meats – was unusually light. This was like drinking a glass of skim milk when I was expecting half & half. The kraut flavor was entirely too clean, dominated more by overbearing herbs than pork, kielbasa and mushrooms. I prefer this dish on the slow-cooked hearty side, and these flavors just didn't come together. Maybe this stew is for hunters on a diet.

On the flip side, we can wholeheartedly endorse their kielbasa. It was a well-grilled link, juicy, snappy, and thoroughly enjoyable. The stuffed cabbage (golabki) was good too, tender peppery ground pork cradled in a green leaf and simmered in a creamy tomato-based sauce.
Pork Goulash on Potato Pancakes

Far more disappointing? The enticingly named Pork Goulash served on potato pancakes. Polish P-doubles tend to be either light and fluffy (“batter” style) or shredded (“hash brown” style). These were the latter, fried golden brown, dense and toothsome. But the Goulash itself, alas... lacked... flavor.

I'm still confused by this one. Does the sentence even make sense?
“The Pork Goulash wasn't very flavorful.”
Improbable... but true. And I know what you're thinking, friend. How could something with Pork and Goulash in the name be low on delicious? Maybe they used Turkey or Tofu or Tofakin' by accident. Either way, the end result was the Polish equivalent of those white-sauce noodle dishes served at Chinese delivery spots: gloppy, dull, and missing an ingredient or three.
Good beets...
...and so-so salads

But so it went at Christina's. Some dishes were spot on, others underwhelming. Even the veggies kept us guessing: nice firm sweet shredded beets were followed by not-so-nice soggy cucumbers in sour cream, and a standard slaw.
Was the atmosphere enough to bring me back? Dunno. There are far worse options, particularly if you want to dine solo for $10. If that's your story, grab a seat at the counter, order at Tyskie or Zywiec Beer and a side of sausage, and read a book.

But that being said, much more awaits in Greenpoint... so tune in next time, as we keep on our search for delicious!


Christina's Restaurant

Open daily, 8 am – 8 pm
853 Manhattan Avenue
Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
(718) 383-4382

Entrees: between $5–$7, served with 2 sides.

Labels:

7 Comments:

Blogger ann said...

I've been doing some research on Polish restos myself in the EV, but on the matter of clear borscht. Out of the biggies, Veselka, Neptune, Little Poland, et.al. (and yes I know Veselka is Ukranian), I've decided the most consistent and flavorful is Polonia on 1st Ave. Maybe it's time of a borough v. borough borscht smack-down.
http://achickenineverygrannycart.wordpress.com

9:30 AM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

that's a great idea, Ann... re: b v. b, are you thinking highlander 'there can only be one' or tango & cash 'the two best in the biz'? either way, i'm down. *smack* down.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Meredith said...

You must check out the delicious and inexpensive Lomzynianka, right around the corner from the Nassau G stop at 646 Manhattan Ave. It's absolutely fantastic.

10:39 AM  
Blogger kate said...

oh my. meredith totally beat me to the punch. and by punch i mean she spelled "Lomzynianka" correctly. the place is awesome and totally convenient. way to go, meredith.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Beaver St said...

Definately Check Out Lomzynianka. It's a hands down favorite with all the foodies. Also Raymonds on Bedford. Always consistant. Christina's is only good for breakfast with a hangover!

7:05 PM  
Blogger J. Slab said...

tks for the suggestion....yeah, I like that L-place even tho I cant spell it. and i agree, the kids love it. more emails about that spot (by far) than any other, since we've started our Greenpoint run. they're definitely on the pork radar, full report coming soon....

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ale talerze to trzebabyło dać całe do zdjęcia

5:13 PM  

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