17 December 2009

Antek Restaurant

POLAND

More (or less) than just a "Polskie Obiady" like the awning reads, Antek is in the true style of an old communist-era bar mleczny (literally "milk bar") which are still found today in Poland and run as if the last four decades never happened. In the years near their creation, these milk bars served mainly dairy or vegetarian dishes, a sign of the hardships and rationing rather than of any dietary preferences, but these days meat is found up and down the menu, satisfying all tastes.

In Antek, nothing is out of place in forming this feeling, with spartan surroundings, cheap tables and plates, and a layer of ugly peach paint that covers every vertical surface. That is all to say that the interior decorating is perfect.

In the mood for hot soup on a cold afternoon, I ordered the white borscht with egg and potatoes ($2.50, below) which ends up being almost a meal in and of itself. The scoops of mashed potatoes compliment this soup, which is traditionally served around Easter but can be found at anytime.

A nice dill was sprinkled on most everything.

Making my potatoes redundant, the bigos ($5.50, below) was also served with a healthy portion of them. This is a dish that will never blow you away, but always satisfies a hunger. It translates in English as "Hunter's stew" most times, and consists of cabbage and meat, which in this case is pork sausages. Outside of Poland, I would say this is the best rendition I have ever eaten. It even warmed up nicely at home as leftovers, as there was no way I could have eaten everything that we ordered that day.


The showpiece of the table this day was the beautifully arranged Hungarian pancake ($8, below), a large fried potato pancake laid upon an enormous portion of beef goulash. A healthy dollop of sour cream and tasty gravy topped the pancake, which had a crispiness that seemed very professional.


I might have shivered every time the door opened, but all in all this just added to the charm of this Greenpoint establishment, making it easier to get into the mind frame of what it could have been like decades ago under slightly different conditions.
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