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Best kielbasa in Greenpoint

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Someone suggested in another thread that I post my findings on the best kielbasa in Greenpoint, and please excuse any digressions that are about things other than sausage. Just to give you some background, I'm of Polish origin, but born here. I do speak Polish, so I have an easier time of making my way around Greenpoint. Over the years my mother and I have found different butchers for the best versions of different sausages, based on rigorous taste testings! Buy most of these sausages whole, and slice them at home like cold cuts, or grill them up, roast them or dice them and add to omlettes or frittatas, or drop me a line for other cooking suggestions.

Sikorski Butcher
Manhattan Ave between Nassau and Driggs
This is the best one-stop butcher in Greenpoint, they make everything on site (as most in Greenpoint do), but I find that their sausages overall have the best flavor. They also have the best bialy kielbasa (fresh white sausage) in NYC. And they don't use "liquid smoke" to flavor any of the meats, as a lot of others do. Sikorski is right next door to Warsaw Bakery, and they always have an enormous cardboard box full of fresh, crusty rye loaves. Grab a loaf (it will be unwrapped) and take it to the counter and have them slice it and bag it for you. Typically I'll buy three or four loaves and freeze them, they defrost and still taste fresh from the bakery. If the bread is still warm - which it very often is, don't get it sliced, because it will get squished in the slicer. Most of the stores in Greenpoint sell bread from the New Warsaw Bakery, but it's noticeably the freshest at Sikorski. The folks here are also much friendlier and more helpful than a lot of places in Greenpoint. They'll let you try anything you like, in fact it's encouraged. I challenge all of you not to buy a whole hunk of roasted schab (pork loin) fresh from the oven and brought from out back...which happens every couple of hours. You can easily eat half of what you bought before you leave the store. If you're lucky they'll bring it out as you walk in, and I can't imagine a better smell in the world.

Recommended for: Krajana kielbasa, bialy kielbasa (white sausage - which is fresh, not cured; used in zurek/white borscht or excellent roasted with onions), Wiejska kielbasa, Kabanos, pastecik (sp? this is a coarse, rustic pate), uncured fresh slab bacon and roasted schab (pork loin)...and fresh RYE BREAD

Steve's Meat Market
Nassau near Manhattan Ave
Steve's is everyone's favorite, and it is indeed very very good, and they rival Sikorski for friendly service. They have a "new" sausage that is a slightly spicier version of Kabanos, it's by no means spicy to a palate that likes spicy food, but it has a nice coarse black pepper kick.

Recommended for: all the sausage, especially the Kabanos (fresh, dried and spicy)

Beata Butcher
Manhattan near Java
Beata has a rustic, double smoked Krajana sausage that my mother swears tastes just like kielbasa she had as a child in Krakow. It's only available late on Fridays and early on Saturdays.

Recommended for: double smoked Krajana

W. Nassau Meat Market ...most Poles call this place "Kiszka" but there are a lot of other "Kiszkas" in the neighborhood, this place is THE Kiszka
Manhattan near Kent
This is one of the best all around butchers in the city. I have never been here when the line didn't snake around in a double circle inside the shop. Don't ask questions, be prepared to order quickly, and they don't speak a lot of English there. If they have a gorgeous whole cut of meat (beef or pork, Poles don't eat much chicken, so don't expect to find any) that you'd like to make a beef stew or goulash from, they will cube it for you in less than a minute, and it's fascinating to watch - I want their knives! Sometimes, but not always, they have fresh pork tenderloins for a fraction of grocery store prices, typically they're about $5 or so each. I also get pork and veal cutlets, pre-pounded there. They also have the best Parowki, which are like enormous Polish hot dogs an inch and a half in diameter and a little longer than a foot. Typically I avoid their kielbasa (except the Parowki) and cold cuts because I find they have a heavy chemical flavor of "liquid smoke."

Recommended for: fresh beef and pork, Parowki

Polam
Manhattan near Kent
Polam has delicious cold cuts, freshly made homemade ham studded with whole garlic cloves. They also have a bucket of pickles in the back that are fantastic.

Recommend for: garlicky homemade ham, pickles

If you're shopping in Greenpoint, and want to sit down and have a bite to eat after you're done, head over to Cafe Relax on Newell just off Nassau, one block beyond McGuinness. It's a luncheonette that has a handwritten menu board above the counter, menu items are in Polish and English (but the English translations are rather funny). Entrees are typically enormous, served with two sides, and run under $6. If they haven't sold out, have a bowl of zurek (or white borscht) redolent with fresh dill, it's served in the traditional way with a half a hard boiled egg floating in it, with slices of bialy kielbasa and a side of mashed potatoes. Take a small spoonful of potatoes, and dip it in the soup as you go. All the pierogi are great (boiled or fried, whichever you like): Russian cheese and potato, sauerkraut and meat filled...the Russian are the best. Nalesniki (stuffed crepes) are great here. The potato pancakes are some of the best outside of my house. The pork and chicken cutlets are great, ask for the raw sauerkraut salad and mashed potatoes as your sides...or buraczki (beets), or the cucumber and sour cream salad. Don't forget to order a beer, Zywiec is one of the best. You can feed 4 hungry people and order a few plates to take home ("na wynos" = to go) for $40 (with beer) and leave so stuffed you're in a food coma.

-----
Relax
68 Newel St, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Sikorski Meat Market
603 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Steve's Meat Market
104 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Beata Delicatessen
984 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

W-Nassau Meat Market
915 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

Polam International
952 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

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  1. Thanks for the great, generous post - and please don't apologize for the fascinating digressions.

    I'm helplessly at sea with Polish pronunciation. So if you have a minute, maybe you could indulge a request for phonetic help:

    Krajana, Kiszka, parowki, buraczki, nalesniki, Zywiec, na wynos ... How do I say these? Slowly, please.

    7 Replies
    1. re: squid kun

      not to step on anyone's line, but my grandmother taught me most of these when i was little. since she's no longer with us, i can't call her up, but i do remember that kiszka = "keesh-ka" and zywiec = "zee-vee-etch."

      and yes, great post -- i always default to Steve's for biala "bee-a-wah" kielbasa, but need to try your recommendations. thanks!

      1. re: squid kun

        A good key to remember is that J = Y, W = V, CZ = CH (but a little harder), SZ = SH (but a little harder), and almost anything ending in "I" is plural, except the numerous irregular words. Once you master the basic sounds, Polish is actually written exactly as it's pronounced; you'll have none of those threw/through moments. The grammar on the other hand is a doozy.

        Krajana = cry-ana
        Kiszka = keesh-ka (thanks, david sprague)
        Parowki = pah-roof-kee
        Buraczki = boor-atch-kee (roll the R if you can)
        Nalesniki = nah-lesh-nee-kee
        Zywiec = zzzeh-vee-etts (sorry, david sprague, I'm suggesting a little less softness on the "wiec")
        Na wynos = na vi-nos (soft "i", not "eye", as if you were starting to say "victor")
        Biala kielbasa = bee-ow-wa cue-bas-ah (in the Polish alphabet both of those "L's" have a line through them, which means they are pronounced like English "W's". There is a regular "L" too, so it's not like Spanish where J = Ha and LL = Y in all cases. PLUS in "kielbasa" the "e" has a little hook on it, which indicates that it's pronounced kind of like "euw", like "euw gross.")

        ...and I do think you're right david, it's "biala kielbasa" and not "bialy", feminine not masculine

        1. re: ballulah

          I'm a bad Pole and never learned anything besides Western Pennsylvanian Polish-American, but have - on many occasions - heard Zywiec - as ballulah said - as jeh-bee-etts or jeh-vee-etts - somewhere between a b and a v.

          1. re: ballulah

            ballulah: thanks for the pronunciation key -- sounding these things out w/your help takes me way way back! happy holidays!

            1. re: david sprague

              And a Merry Christmas/Wesolych Swiat to you!

          2. re: squid kun

            sikorski's is by far the best...besides all you've stated above-dont forget the eddies pickles,the white horseradish to go with the kielbasa(kick it up a notch)-and something you guys havent mentioned----the smoked rack of spare ribs-these are really tasty-i can actually feel my arteries bust -but so you know -go on saturday morning -kielbasa comes out of smoker about 10:30 am...ribs little later...ask for andy(red face)..he will set you up with a sample with the white horseradish....enjoy...

            1. re: fedex guy

              Hey fedex guy, glad to know that I'm not the only one who loves Sikorski. Yes indeed, buy your horseradish in Greenpoint. I love the Krakus brand (everything they make is good, from pickles to jams and even some of their mustard). Another good one is Wawel. When in doubt and faced with a rack of condiments, I usually turn to those two brands.

              And yes those smoked ribs are pretty darned good. I bought some and warmed them up in the oven slathered with Stubb's BBQ sauce, since I'm an apartment dweller without a barbeque of my own!

              And yes YES! Andy, or Pan Andrzej as I know him, is the nicest guy in the world. The epitome of the jolly butcher. He always gives me a big bag of the ends of their cold cuts for my dog, and I don't have the heart to tell him it's too salty for dogs! But everyone who works there is really nice. And the store is much roomier than some of the others, less cramped and crowded even when there is a big line.

          3. thanks so much. i'm looking forward to checking out sikorski.

            1. This is awesome! Most of my friends in the neighborhood (old-timers not artists) swear by W Nassau's sausages, and I've liked them too... but now I can one-up them: "HAHA LIQUID SMOKE!!!"

              In fact I'm sending those with email the link to this post.

              1. Thanks for the information on the various Greenpoint stores that carry Kielbasa.

                We have mostly purchased our Kielbasa from the W-Nassau store and have even liked the Kielbasa there despite your statements that they have a taste of “liquid smoke.” What does an Asian know about Polish food!

                We have also bought and enjoyed the cooked roast pork loins and bacon at W-Nassau. Do you consider the whole slabs of roast pork loin and bacon at the Sikorski Buthcher superior to the ones at W-Nassau also?

                In an earlier post on Greenpoint, we had posted a Kielbasa taste test from an amateur website (http://greenpoint.pbwiki.com/The%20Gr...) that showed the store at 726 Manhattan Ave as having the best Kielbasa in Greenpoint. We have not tried any Kielbasa from 726 Manhattan Ave, but would you consider the Kielbasa at 726 Manhattan to be good also? According to this Kielbasa taste test, Sikorski came in third almost tied for second place with the 160 Nassau store.

                From your remarks discussing and listing the best Kielbasa stores in Greenpoint, we will definitely try the Sikorski Butcher store the next time we are in Greenpoint.

                -----
                Polski Meat Market
                726 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                2 Replies
                1. re: lwong

                  I'm not sure which store is at 726, but I'll make a point of checking the next time I am there. I've tried lots, but the above is my short list.

                  The pork loin and bacon I think *are* best at Sikorski. Whenever I've bought anything from W Nassau that isn't fresh meat, I've been disappointed. It could just be my personal taste, though.

                  1. re: ballulah

                    Polski Meat Market (726 Manhattan Ave between Meserole and Norman Aves, 718-349-2884)... or so my computer told me.

                2. Ballulah, can you help with this? See my reply to this thread. What is wiejska (sp?) or should I ask what is "spoon", lol? TIA. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  Your thread here is excellent! Thank you!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Hi Cheese Boy, yeah Pols can be really nasty and the teens in particular. From the reply you linked to, you WERE actually saying "spoon"...haha, laughing with you not at you, pal. WISH-ka = liszka (L with a line through it) = spoon.

                    Wiejska = vee-ay-ska

                    Now if you had gone to Sikorski or Steve's, they wouldn't have been so nasty. Although, the guys at Sikorski used to tease me because they thought I was born in Poland and made a pretense of forgetting my Polish. Then I explained to them that I'm an "American-ka." Haha.

                    1. re: ballulah

                      Ballulah...! You're an 'American-ka'? Oh no! That just destroyed your credibility! Just kidding, just kidding. I wish I knew what that means...I'm guessing it means you're "American", right? Hey, this board need Americans of Polish descent. You are a highly valuable resource.

                      Thank you so much for the translations. Vee-ay-ska is what I needed. I was saying spoon. LOL. I appreciate your help. Great thread!

                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                        "American-ka" just means American! Haha. You're right. And after I told them it wasn't my first language they were duly impressed.

                  2. I love Steve's. They're neck and neck with Kurowycky's on 1st Avenue in Manhattan, which is for me the gold standard.

                    I went to W. Nassau and was less impressed. I got small amounts of a dozen things, and found the flavor disappointing. The smoking gun was finding needle holes in almost everything, meaning that they inject water to add weight and "juiciness," at the expense of intensity.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: KRS

                      Yeah, the sausage at W-Nassau DOES have the needle holes. You won't find that at Sikorski's, or Steve's.

                      1. re: KRS

                        Kurowycky's doesn't have the space to be as good as the others in Greenpoint! I used to shop there when I didn't know that Greenpoint even existed...and my mother used to save her shopping for her annual trips to Poland.

                        And I totally second you on the needle holes in the sausage from W Nassau. Their sausage tastes always like they took the easy route...liquid smoke and false juiciness! Even if I'm tired and don't feel like walking to the other end of Manhattan, I won't buy the sausage there.

                      2. Absolutely brilliant post, ballulah. I thank you.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JonL

                          I thank you for the compliment!

                        2. Thank you so much for the great resources.

                          Our Housekeeper used to live in Greenpoint, and she stocked our fridge with all the wonderful stuff from there. I am going to take your list and go wth her one day next week. We'lltry all the places you recommend.
                          How do you say "Thank you" and "Merry Christmas" in Polish?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Fleur

                            I'm so glad you'll use my "guide"! My mother will be thrilled too.

                            Thank you = dzienkuje = jen-koo-yeah
                            Merry Christmas = Wesolych Swiat = Veh-so-wi-hhh Sh-fi-ohnt (the "hhh" is pronounced more like a cat hissing)

                          2. Who's got the best ham in Greenpoint (or Maspeth)?
                            And how does it compare to Kurowycky's?

                            1. Good ham rotates from place to place. Polam is usually pretty reliably good, so is Sikorski. I walk around and see what looks good. If I find a good ham in more than one place, I'll buy a little of all of them. That's the nice thing about the meats being fresh and locally smoked/baked/roasted etc, it's as unpredictable as homecooking.

                              Maybe I'll have to revisit Kurowycky's, I haven't really shopped there in about 10 years or so.

                              1. If you were going to Steve's or Sikorski's and you wanted to get what in Chicago would simply be called (by people who aren't Polish) "Polish sausage," which kind of sausage would you order? In other words, which of the gazillion different types of sausage is closest to what Americans think of as "Polish sausage"?

                                From what I've read, the classic Maxwell Street Polish sausage in Chicago is an American invention; and zwyczajna is supposedly closest to what most Americans think of as Polish sausage.

                                1. This thread makes me hungry. I wish Greenpoint was a bit easier to get to from the rest of Brooklyn...

                                  1. Great thread.. As I will be heading over there this evening to buy some things for the grill, anyone have any updates.. I guess I will hit up Sikorski's unless something has happened recently. .

                                    DAniel

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: Daniel76

                                      My favorite as of today is the swojska domowa at Steve's--Very garlicky smoky

                                      1. re: rschwim

                                        I feel like Sikorski is more one stop shopping (having never been to any of these places) I am looking to drive from New Jersey today.. Stop in Greenpoint, pick up sides,pickles, horseraddish, meats, breads, and dessert, drive to my place in brooklyn, start the bbq and have dinner ready for 6 people in an hour after that..

                                        What's the best place to do that..

                                      2. re: Daniel76

                                        My favorite is Steve's weselna. Got some a few weeks ago.
                                        I prefer Steve's over Sikorski's (not that Sikorski's stuff isn't good though).

                                        1. re: racer x

                                          We've always gone to Mazur Meat Market because it was recommended by the Polish porter in my parents' building. The kielbasa always seems to be good, at least to my untrained tongue. We generally always get smoked because everyone likes it better. How do these other places compare to Mazur?

                                          -----
                                          Mazur Meat Market
                                          922 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                          1. re: richg35

                                            Good question. I've never been to Mazur's.
                                            I found Steve's and Sikorski's from Ballulah (former? chowhound) and a blog (porkchop-express dot com).

                                        2. re: Daniel76

                                          So, thanks for the help.. I stopped by Sikorski's the other day.. Wow.. What a country.. You know when you are talking to the butcher and he doesnt understand food related orders, you are in an authentic place..

                                          "Kielbasa" was not understood all that well.. Give me your best kielbasa.. I said to the large man, with the head like the Heman Figure that rammed things opened..Meck a neck or someone, he was called..

                                          He reaches for this large ring formed by two 16 inch sausages tied together at the ends.. It weights 1.5 pounds..

                                          I look over to the meat case and see this beautiful smoked loin of pork,. though smoked, it is still maybe brought to 125.. it needs a little cook time if you are going to roast it.. i think by his movement, people normally order it thinly sliced.. I motion to the guy to not slice the meat but, give me a large 10 inch section of the loin.. I will later cover this in maple syrup and cook it in a convection oven at 450 for 20 minutes.. it comes out perfect!

                                          I buy a jar of sour kraut.. i add a stick of butter, some carroway seeds and put it on the stove.. I add to the kraut grilled pieces of kielbasa.. i sliced on the diagonal in 5 inch pieces.. i have purchased wonderful horseradish, I have purchased this amazing rye bread, i have purchased liverwurst and pickles and a super spicy mustard.. this all comes to 22 dollars..

                                          I plate broccoli rabe length wise on either side of a platter.. I put the sour kraut in the middle.. circle the meat around the kraut, i put slices of the loin in either corner of the tray.. it looks pretty and rustic. spoon the butter vinegar sauce from the pan onto the platter..

                                          Amazing dinner for 6, prep time was 30 minutes.. effortless dinner party..people brought cookies.. and vodka..

                                          Place is great and cheap and it smells like smoked wood and the people are friendly

                                        3. Do not forget Polam.

                                          1. Wow! I had no idea people were still visiting this post.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: ballulah

                                              Ballulah - what a coincidence to see you back visiting this thread!
                                              I happened to be in NYC for a visit today, and stopped by Steve's, along with Mazur and Polski (726 Manhattan) based on some of the more recent posts. I haven't had a chance to taste the sausages yet, other than the huge sample of weselna a friendly butcher at Steve's gave me.

                                              1. re: racer x

                                                I liked the various sausages I got from all three, but I slightly preferred Steve's and Mazur's over Polski's.
                                                Polski's sausages tasted a little too strongly of (what seemed to be) black pepper.

                                                Mazur's sausages were a lot saltier than those from the other shops and had a taste that reminded me somewhat of the mass-produced sausages that you can find in the supermarket.

                                                In terms of service, I preferred Steve's (the guys there are always friendly, and are quick to offer a nice hunk of sausage for samples - including on my most recent visit) and Polski's (the young women there were very friendly and helpful). The ladies behind the counter at Mazur's were very no-nonsense and didn't seem particularly helpful. The sausages at Mazur's also cost me about $1 per pound more than those from the other two places.

                                                I think that of these three I'd return more readily to Steve's for the best combination of good sausage and good service.

                                            2. Being half Polish and living in Greenpoint until I was 5, I went back to the old stomping grounds in January of this year. I was in search of authentic Polish kielbasi. I first went to Sikorski's on my quest because of this review. No complaints, a good place to go.

                                              Then, I was talking to my mom, who married my Polish dad, and she was like, "Sikorskis?? No, you have to go to Steve's. That's where to get it." Silly half Polish me, didn't think to ask her first :)

                                              This time I went to Steve's, and there's no comparison! The only tricky part is, not really knowing the different types of kielbasi, is pointing and hoping for the best. It's worked well for me so far!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: alternakiddy7

                                                I had this, so I figured I'd throw it out there for the masses.

                                                Biala: A garlicky, uncooked, unsmoked white kielbasa that must be kept refrigerated until it’s cooked.

                                                Galareta: A cold Polish meat and vegetable-studded aspic, usually served as a starter or snack and often found sold in a plastic cups or foodservice containers.

                                                Golonka: Smoked ham hocks, often seen sitting out on top of the counter and traditionally boiled and served with kraut.

                                                Kabanosy: A thinner, air-dried kielbasa made with caraway seeds that’s usually sold hung in pairs of two and looks a little like long sticks of beef jerky.

                                                Krakowska: A chunky, cold-cut style kielbasa made from lean pork and hot-smoked with pepper and garlic. It’s usually sold with a casing like salami; also like salami it’s served thinly sliced. Both the link and the name come from Kraków.

                                                Lisiecka: A smoked pork kielbasa with a milder, just slightly peppery flavor.

                                                Pasztet: Finely ground meat paste, or Polish pate, often seen made in several variations depending on which animals were used in its production.

                                                Parowki: Polish hot dogs.

                                                Starowiejska: A classic kielbasa flavor profile, closest to the far-less-flavorful version found shrink-wrapped in most supermarkets.

                                                Wiejska: A fat, rustic kielbasa—its name means something like village--made with marjoram and garlic and shaped like a “U.”

                                              2. I tried Kiszka Meat Market's (915 Manhattan Ave) weselna a few weeks ago.
                                                Delicious, although a bit salty. I didn't notice any needle holes, and the smoke flavor was perfect. There was no chemical taste that I could detect.

                                                In fact, it was better than what I got from Steve's that same day. (Not sure whether I was given the wrong sausage at Steve's or whether someone messed up in the kitchen when they were making it. It had a strong liver flavor -- I hate liver -- and the spices didn't seem right.)

                                                -----
                                                Steve's Meat Market
                                                104 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                                W-Nassau Meat Market
                                                915 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                                1. Wow, fantastic post! I need to get to Greenpoint soon and buy a ton of this food. I usually hit restaurants there instead of markets, and the kielbasa has been kind of hit-or-miss. Most recently, I enjoyed the one at Karczma, anyway!

                                                  -----
                                                  Karczma
                                                  136 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                                  1. Kurowycky's has long closed. My elderly parents still lament that they can't get the thin kielbasa that was sold there. Is there anywhere in Greenpoint that I can buy the Kurpwycky's tasting kielbasa? And where are the best poinchki (jelly donuts) in Greenpoint? As long as I'm shopping might as well stock up. Went to Montreal and smuggled the "famous" karnitzi or something like that, the Montreal version of thin kielbasa. Parents said feh.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: meinNYC

                                                      Our current favorite place for Polish baked goods is Jaslowiczanka Bakery on Nassau Avenue. Rzeszowska Bakery on Manhattan Avenue is also very good, but it has a smaller selection. Regarding the sausage, if it's what I think it is (kabanosy) then you can find it all over Greenpoint. Steve's Meat Market (also on Nassau) would be my recommendation.

                                                      -----
                                                      Steve's Meat Market
                                                      104 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                                      Rzeszowska
                                                      948 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                                                      Jaslowiczanka Bakery
                                                      163 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222