I’m not biased against Eastern European food; it just never occurs to me to seek it out. I lived in a Polish/Bosnian/Croatian/Romanian neighborhood for three years and didn’t sample the local fare even once. (That had more to do with not being able to afford going out to eat in the late ‘90s-early ‘00s, though. I think that’s why I originally started a dining diary. Restaurants were more of a rare treat and I liked to keep track of where I had been even if it meant no more than typing a short awkward paragraph. New Green Bo was my initial entry back in 2000, and no, it’s hardly illuminating (and I'm still not much for illumination but now I have photos to lean on) but the librarian in me likes documenting and archiving. These oldies have actually been helpful, if for nothing more than jogging my own memory.)
But while looking for something quick and cheap before attending an Oscar party in Greenpoint (that had food—I’m just spazzy about squeezing in a choice meal because I never know what might be served at a party and I don’t like taking chances. It’s kind of like how many years ago a friend, a recovered alcoholic who thought I drank too much, asked me if I drank before going to parties, as if that were a serious warning sign. Uh yeah, I did and still do and my liver is fine.) I was moved by the Krolewskie Jadlo’s regal kitsch. I’d always wondered what went on inside the restaurant with two suits of armor standing guard at the entrance.
In this case my pre-party drink was a $5 glass of cheap Shiraz (which I followed with some nice fizzy Lambrusco at the party). Maybe I do have a problem because I’m not terribly bothered by plonk; it’s what it is. Beer might’ve been a better choice than wine but at least I didn’t succumb to one of their chocolate martinis.
I will admit that I'm not sure what this spread was, though I suspect that chicken fat played a major role.
I really wanted the Polish plate (potato pancake, stuffed cabbage, pierogis and kielbasa). It was only $9 but still being the most expensive item on the entrée list, I knew it would be a gut buster. That’s not what I was looking for on this particular evening. Instead, I tried the $7.50 pork cutlet. Ok, pounded, breaded flaps of meat aren’t exactly light either but it felt like a concession. There’s never anything revelatory about a cutlet but the crust was appropriately crisp and the meat wasn’t dried out. And who hates mashed potatoes?
You can specify the starch and vegetable you want but I made no requests wanting to see what the default accompaniments might be. It looks like a beet puree and a cabbage salad. I love root vegetables and pickled things so both of these sweetly vinegared slaws worked for me.
Krolewskie Jadlo means king’s feast, which in turn means portraits of men in crowns gracing the walls. If these were actual members of royalty, I’ll never know. I liked this touch, as well as the Polish language music sampler that seemed to be a pastiche of ’90s styles. There was an alt-country ditty and a Liz Phair-like number, yet no Macarena, unfortunately.
Krolewskie Jadlo * 694 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY