We ate in a new (to us) restaurant last week. One of those places that we have driven by a thousand times, always meaning to stop, never finding the right moment. We are adding this to our list of "take our friends here" places.
The restaurant is called Smak Tak. Apparently that is Polish for Tasty! Yes! It's true. This is a tiny store front on Elston Avenue, just a short drive from the house. Inside it looks like somebody's log cabin. Perhaps at one time it was intended as a tavern, or maybe this is the way Polish restaurants are supposed to look. Looks aren't everything. But being cute AND having good food are both good things.
The menu is small but appears large, because the left hand page lists all the dishes in Polish, while the right hand page lists all the same dishes in English. Choosing is not made any easier by the few photos of laden plates of food which adorn the menu.
This place serves one of those "I will have to get that next time" dishes. It consists of a Hungarian potato pancake generously wrapped around a healthy portion of Goulash and adorned with sour cream and two or three vegetable salad selections. Other choices include Bigos (Hunter Style Stew) pork loin served with fruit, Pierogi and Potato Dumplings. Shish Kebab and BBQ ribs are also listed. Entrees range from $9to $12. Each includes potatoes and at least two vegetables or salads, chef's choice.
Stuck into the menu is a plain white sheet of paper listing the specials of the day. This takes the form of a $15 full meal and includes your choice of 2 or 3 soups, your choice of entree, potatoes, bread, vegetables and dessert.
On our visit, Bill ordered the special. Some kind of dumpling resembling round Pierogi, a generous basket of bread and butter, mounds of cucumbers in sour cream and shredded, pickled beets. The dumplings were swimming in melted butter, which Bill felt somewhat made up for the brilliant fuchsia beet juice encroaching on their space. Bill chose the chicken noodle soup (I would have opted for the mushroom) and also had a slice of torte as his dessert (no choice of dessert was offered).
I ordered the pork cutlet. A piece of pork, pounded thin and flat, large enough to be imposing on the platter-sized plate which held it and blanketed with sauteed mushrooms. Three small ice-cream scoops of mashed potato, garnished with minced parsley and dill, and mounds of shredded carrot salad and good red cabbage (I don't know how to spell Rotkohl).
The food, along with two slices of bread and butter, was enough that I was able to take home two of Bill's dumplings and one scoop of my potatoes, along with the uneaten portions of salad for a nice lunch the next day. We shared the slice of cake, which was drizzled with Hershey's chocolate syrup and which the wait person presented with two forks, due to her powers of insight.
Although the place was empty when we arrived, and a quick read of the restaurant reviews decorating the walls indicated that evening crowds were not the norm, at least three other tables (of the 10 or so available) were occupied while we ate. Apparently construction crews and other hearty eaters frequent the place for lunch, less so at supper. But no liquor license means you can bring your own choice of beer or wine and appropriate glasses will be offered without asking.
This is not a typical Polish all-you-can-eat buffet and lacks something in the "stuff yourself" factor. But the well prepared food, nicely presented in pleasant surroundings and not too expensive make it a hit. We will be back. Hopefully with friends. Hopefully soon.
Quotable Quotes; in the category But Fish Wasn't Even On The Menu!
"Fish, to taste right, must swim three times - in water, in butter and in wine."