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Jul 18, 2011 06:42 AM

Polish Place in Tompkinsville, SI

We stopped by the Polish Place on S.I. just before closing Friday night and picked up some takeaway from the grocery food window (the sit-down restaurant next door was closed).

The owner fried potato pancakes, pierogies, a crepe and a blintz on the spot for us and heated the cucumber soup so we could try it warm. We also snagged a few cold sides: beet salad and sauerkraut. Everything is made from scratch in-house -- the owner told us she uses many of her own recipes, but also looks for new ideas in Polish women's magazines. :)

Amazingly flavorful potato pancakes -- garlicky and oniony, though extremely greasy. Great with a side of their thick sour cream.

Rich, creamy cucumber soup (sour cream in the broth) -- tons of veggie chunks and great tang from the bits of pickled cucumbers and tons of dill.

Props for the saurkraut, as well -- which had both cabbage and carrots and was not overly sour, but rather full of flavor from some combination of spices -- more like those addictive, coriander-seed-studded carrot salads you find in Russian grocery stores.

Full write-up to follow soon -- and perhaps a return visit with some meat-eaters in tow. There's a ton of pork, chicken, etc. dishes (e.g., stuffed cabbage) that are well worth investigating. (Indeed, that whole stretch of Victory Blvd. is a really interesting mix of Mexican, African and Sri Lankan markets and restaurants....)

The Polish Place
19 Corson Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301

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  1. Glad you enjoyed it. We love the Polish Place, and often stop by for lunch. The attached deli has lots of cool Polish goods, so we often stock up on spicy mustard, a dozen pierogies and links of hunter-style kielbasa to keep in our freezer for when the mood takes us.

    The Polish Place
    19 Corson Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301

    2 Replies
    1. re: nepocon

      The staff is all absolutely charming also. Polish restaurants come and go on Staten Island but this one has come and stayed....

      1. re: BMartin

        Yes! The owner was almost ready to lock up, but instead stayed and served us food and chatted for at least a half hour. She was lovely. The grocery/take-out window has been there for 14 years. The restaurant opened in 2003.

    2. And finally -- the full, official write-up of our meal at Polish Place. For the benefit of my fellow CHers, I'll go a step further than I did in the review: This may be the best Polish (restaurant) cooking in the city.

      Granted, we stuck exclusively to vegetarian fare. Re: the meat dishes, I can say this: A friend (of Polish descent) took a look at Polish Place's menu and ID'd quite a few dishes (all meat) that her grandmother used to make. Can anyone weigh in on the meat dishes?

      Tucked at the back of a prim, well-stocked Polish grocery in Tompkinsville, Staten Island, is a nondescript takeout window. But the homey, made-from-scratch, traditional Polish dishes coming out of that window at the back of the Polish Place are anything but unremarkable.

      The potato pancakes had us at the first bite. Made from batter spiked with onion, garlic and sour cream, these freshly panfried, golden cakes were crispy on the outside and moist and soft inside. The ample onion and garlic added a kick of bold flavor to the smooth, creamy potato mixture.

      We had hoped to try the potato and onion pierogies, but they had sold out earlier in the day. The other vegetarian pierogies, stuffed with finely minced mushroom and sauerkraut, were deeply savory with an almost meaty flavor (the mushrooms) and a slightly tangy finish (the sauerkraut). Their skins, panfried to outer crispness, retained a firm, chewy texture.

      The thin, slightly sweet crepe was rolled around the same savory mushroom-and-sauerkraut mixture that filled our pierogies. Although panfried to onion ring–like crispness on one side, the crepe’s soft, delicate texture was preserved on its unfried inner side.

      The cucumber soup combined a creamy broth with tangy shreds of pickled cucumber and hunks of tender, mild potato and carrot—all seasoned generously with dill.

      Although we had expected a cold soup, Ewa Orzeszko, Polish Place’s extremely hospitable owner—a native of Bialystok in northeastern Poland, insisted on heating it for us. She was right. Hot is definitely the way to enjoy this rich, hearty comfort food.

      We also tried two cold side dishes, beet salad and sauerkraut. The shredded beets marinated in vinegar were tender but firm. Their earthy, natural sweetness softened the vinegar’s sour bite.

      The simple, refreshing beet salad was just the thing to accompany our carb-heavy main dishes, but the sauerkraut was a masterpiece on its own.

      The shredded cabbage and carrots were still crunchy, seasoned with a light, flavorful mix of spices and just enough vinegar to achieve a mellow tang. It was easily the best sauerkraut we’ve ever had.

      We rounded out our meal with a sweet blintz bulging with soft, mildly sweetened farmer’s cheese. The blintz itself was sweet and every bit as thin and delicate as the crepe. And because it had undergone a lighter panfrying, its outer skin remained soft, crust-free and far less oily than our main dishes.

      Aside from Greenpoint, the Polish Place is the place to come for carefully made, traditional Polish food—with an unusual bonus: It’s surprisingly vegetarian-friendly.



      The Polish Place
      19 Corson Ave, Staten Island, NY 10301

      2 Replies
      1. re: CitySpoonful

        Nice to have some recognition for Staten Island restaurants.

        1. re: BMartin

          was in staten island on wed, tried Polish place for some pierogi's--mushroom/saurkraut excellent and spicy with black pepper--and potato and cheese...everything very fresh, and nice and hot--and big portions--place is spotless, and they are so super nice and friendly and warm...we'll be back when in the area..and highly reccomend....cute little place--cozy