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little poland: big surprise

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  • allan evans Jan 12, 1998 08:34 PM
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Mie was not yet open and I had to eat lunch. The
desolation of 2nd Avenue above 8th street seemed
daunting. Even Chikubu was a temptation, but a
posted menu is a pathetic remindr of their uptown
base's superiority. Then I espied Little Poland,
boasting 6 varieties of Pierogi. I ordered
grilled Tuna and red bean soup. The soup had
kielbasi slices which made the broth and beans
seem subjugated by inferior smoked pork. The
tuna: of the 2 identical filets, one was quite
tender, the other dried and overcooked. How did
the chef manage this variety simultaneously?
Mashed potatoes were warm and lumpy but tasted
flat and stale. The kasha wet but also dry after
swallowing: adding saliva was useless. I asked
for lemon, to save the tuna. The waitress
retorted that they just ran out. Poland in the
1980's: food shortages, menus listing much backed
by empty kitchens, yet across the street in New
York, 1998, was a 24 hour fruit and vegetable
stand: the mental leap between no lemons and
walking a few paces to stock up was as wide as
the cultural chasm separating Poland between the
World Wars and the blighted Soviet satellite
state. I highly recommned Little Poland to those
seeking nostalgia for the old EAST BLOC with such
heartfelt touches of privation. An electronic
tickertape in both English and Polish reminds you
that home cooking is featured! Try the pierogi
but bring your own sour cream (just in case).

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