Monday, December 13, 2010

Polonia Polish Restaurant- Longwood

I had never even heard of a Pierogi until my 3rd year of college. That's when a young kid named Skrypczuk (it took me a long time before I finally memorized that spelling) moved in next door. One night he asked me if I wanted to eat with him and naturally, I thought, 'Free food, and I don't have to help cook?? Sign me up!'

So goes my first introduction with these delicious little potato-pillows. That night we had them with peppers, onions and sour cream. I was upset it had taken me so long to finally enjoy the best thing a Pole has given mankind right after a bevy of terrible jokes. Flash forward many years later, and here I am, still hangin around with Skryp (easier) and still enjoying pierogies. Last Saturday, we were at a little place on 17/92, called Polonia Polish Restaurant.

This store is maybe the size of a 7-11. Small, quaint, no frills. Just good cookin and great service. When you enter the establishment, you come upon a deli counter. For those of you who would rather purchase a homemade delight for a take and bake evening, there's plenty of keilbasas, blintzez and fresh baked goods ready to go. We, however, were there to enjoy the all that the cafe had to offer us. Following the host around the corner, there's seating for maybe 40 people give or take a 4-top. It was Saturday afternoon, so the crowd was small but we noticed that beneath the tables, in the center of the dining area, there was a wooden dance floor. I'm guessing there's some crazy Polish partying going on in this joint when the sun goes down.
Decorations lined the walls reflecting Polish heritage: pictures, art work and the blazing red and white symbol of their homeland.
Since it was still early, we dined off the lunch menu. Not a lot of gimmicks. Not a lot of bells and whistles, just classic fare. Soup, salads and potato pancakes were a few options as a starter. Many varieties of kielbasa, pierogies and stuffed cabbage for the main course. There were also plenty of sandwich options available too.
We started with a helping of the potato pancakes. However, before they arrived our server (who was possibly the best server I've had at ANY dining establishment in recent memory) brought us a basket of fresh bread. This wasn't your typical yeast roll/french bread though. I dove into a sweet, moist selection with poppy seeds on the crust. It tasted like the finest of Hawaiian rolls. We all enjoyed a few pieces before the potato cakes were brought out. Three burger-patty sized cakes flattened, crispy and ready to go. They came with a side of sour cream and homemade granny smith apple sauce. The apple sauce was a little different than what Mott's gives you. It had small chunks, like if you were cleaning a carrot and those little strands go flying off? It was like that. A mound of apple strands with a rich, brown color and light texture. I had never tried potatoes with apples before, but I'll tell ya what--I'll do it again.

We devoured our pancakes and even scooped another bite or two of the leftover apples before our lunch was dropped off.
Skryp and I got basically the same thing, two pierogies, one stuffed cabbage and kielbasa. That's their Polish Trio...his was the platter though, which came with all of the above plus a side of sauerkraut.
The kilebasa was awesome and the stuffed cabbage was a first for me. I like trying new things, but wasn't sure if I'd enjoy this selection. I was pleasantly surprised. It came out about the size of a burrito with your choice of sauce drizzled on top. I got mine half and half, with the regular red sauce, which was good, but not very--what's the word...overwhelming? It didn't add much to that half of the cabbage, but it didn't take away from it either. The other half had this rich mushroom sauce, THAT was the winner. So good! Creamy with lots of diced up mushrooms drizzled all up on it. The cabbage was soft; stuffed with meat, onions and who knows what else. It all tasted delish. The wife got a plate of pierogies. They had three varieties that day (I suppose it differs as they make them fresh). You could take the regular potato and cheese, there was spinach with farmers cheese, and a mushroom filled one as well. She got 4 regulars and two spinach. I had one spinach and one regular with my trio. They came with some nice caramelized onions on top and lots of sour cream on the side.
As we were finishing up this Polish feast, our server swung by with the dessert...assorted babkas. There were a few different kinds to choose from. Too bad none of us left room for the sweets, but it definitely gives me a reason to go back. Speaking of going back, whenever we decide to enjoy some pierogies for dinner at home, we'll make sure to swing by Polonia's to pick up a portion of theirs, homemade. The ones we find in the grocer's freezer aren't bad, but they don't even compare to the real deal.
After all was said and done, with a coke I think we got outta there spending about $25.00 including tip.

So if you like the sausage, you like the potatoes, you'll like the Polonia. Just a short drive from downtown.

750 South Highway 17/92
Longwood, Florida
(407) 331-1933

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