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Why are Polish restaurants not successful in the USA?


f stop 25 | 2,513
20 Aug 2011 #631
complete recipe please

That's the problem, the sauces/stews I do on the fly (hence spectacular misses), often putting together just what's at hand. As luck would have it, this time it was a bag of just harvested green chilies. I never used them before because I thought they were very hot. They are not!

One thing I've learned is to put much less spices (especially salt) than what you think it's going to need if you're going to simmer for a while, because simmering really actentuates the flavors. Then I adjust the salt and heat at the very end. Whenever I use tomatoes, I add a pinch of sugar, too. Cumin is one spice I grew to love after the mostly unfortunate Indian cooking phase I went through.

The secret to my stuffed cabbage is a huge amount of sauteed onions. I do 1/4 ground pork, 1/4 ground beef, 1/4 sauteed onions (and since they greatly reduce while sauteeing, that's a LOT of onions to chop) and 1/4 cooked rice. I don't put any spices in except salt and pepper. Not even garlic. Another secret here is a steamer basket while I cook them, so they don't cook in their own grease. I make a couldron at a time, then pack them in individual containers for freezing. They freeze very well.
joepilsudski 26 | 1,389
20 Aug 2011 #632
I love this forum...The discussion is on promoting Polish cooking and we get arguments about Vegata, whether it is Polish or what...Vegata is simply a combination spice that is handy to use as a seasoning or in a base...All cultures use this type of thing: The Latino 'Goya' company makes a number of combination spices that are widely used in cooking Spanish food, like Sofrito, Adobo and Recaito.

I notice Vegeta in stores that have products and condiments from Eastern Europe, and also in some supermarkets, so it is quite popular...Whether one likes it is to his or her taste.

I've been trying to introduce my friends to Polish food. Last month they found my stuffed cabbage too bland. Last night I made it again, this time with green chile sauce. They must have liked it, because at the end of the night it was all gone. Is that fussion?

If they eat it up, it's called good cooking.
ShortHairThug - | 1,103
20 Aug 2011 #633
That's the problem, the sauces/stews I do on the fly

That’s not a problem, that’s a sign of a great cook as long as you can recreate that same taste time and time again. Anyway respect, I think there’s enough info here for me to recreate it, I hope :) Thx.
Nickidewbear 23 | 584
21 Aug 2011 #634
I'm not sure I'd describe Poland as an ethnic group, but what would you describe as uniquely Polish?Normally I wouldn't agree with 'Rebirth' but in this case he is right. Polish cuisine is notespecially good. Home-cooked is OK but nothing special, in restaurants in Poland it is usually bad.

From what I understand, don't the Zidowsky restaraunts do better than the Polski restaraunts in even Polska?
dave73 - | 7
6 Sep 2011 #635
It's been a while since I commented on this board. It's already been covered that the Chicago market has the largest Polish population outside of Poland. There are plenty of Polish restaurants in the market, with some of them being buffets. Czervone Jabłuszko is in Chicago's Avondale & Forest Glen neighborhoods, & doing well. Jolly Inn in Chicago, & Sawa's Old Warsaw in Broadview also doing well. Warsaw Inn in Lynwood, IL has been open for 31 years. I recently got a chance to try Out Warsaw Inn, & I find the food great. Certain foods have already been incorporated into American Cuisine (part of the reason it's not as popular in most parts of the USA), but some foods are considered Polish, like Pierogi & Kielbasa. Warsaw Inn is not cheap, as they charge $12.95 on Tuesday - Thursday & $13.95 on Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, & only open for dinner. Almost all the food is made from scratch, which is the reason they charge more, but worth it. I find that I am full longer when I eat Polish food than when I eat most American food. Even Warsaw Inn's desserts are home made. Recently in Dyer Indiana, some Polish immigrants decided to open a deli in one store front, & a small buffet restaurant next door, & both are open 7 days a week. The deli is called Taste of Poland, selling various Polish foods, along with some packaged imported food. The buffet restaurant is simply called Polish Buffet. It's done well so far. If this place is successful, maybe other polish businesses might open, as Polish immigrants are rediscovering NW Indiana(another topic). Anyway, Polish Buffet has a smaller selection than Warsaw Inn, but open for lunch. From 11:30am - 4pm, the lunch buffet costs $10.99 (lunch is also available on Sunday) & from 4 - 8pm, dinner is $13.95 (beverage included in the price for both lunch & dinner). Carry out is $6.50 a pound, but certain foods like kielbasa & pierogi, they recommend the larger quantities be ordered from the deli, due to preparation times to make certain items. Pierogi (potato & cheddar, sauerkraut, & meat), potato pancakes, & blintzes are polish foods found at most Polish restaurants. Chicken, mashed potatoes, chicken noodle soup, & some other foods I don't remember off-hand are made Polish style. Polish Buffet has potential. Only time will tell if business will stay steady to keep it open. I hope that if they become profitable, that they look to expand the restaurant, & add more food to the buffet.
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
7 Sep 2011 #636
That's all fine and dandy but the thread is "not successful in the USA", not "are not successful anywhere in the USA".

the fact still remains that the avg american would be hard pressed to find a good Polish restaurant in his/her town and you'd be even more hard pressed to find an American that actually frequents the place. it's just not popular cuisine in the states.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
7 Sep 2011 #637
One of you should start a Polish restaurant franchise.
Marynka11 4 | 676
7 Sep 2011 #638
I've been trying to introduce my friends to Polish food. Last month they found my stuffed cabbage too bland. Last night I made it again, this time with green chile sauce. They must have liked it, because at the end of the night it was all gone. Is that fussion?

The best ever recipe for stuffed cabbage I got from "Joy of cooking", the 1997 edition. I usually make them for all pot-locks and people can't get enough. The sauce calls for a carrots, onions, celery, tomatoes, stock, white wine and it's spectacular. My mother would usually mix some tomato paste with water and pour it over the stuffed cabbage, and that was bland.

So the key is to explore and get it out of your head that your mom's way was the best.
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Sep 2011 #639
This weekend I had to bring food to girlfriends' pool night. So I made golabki. Fell asleep and greatly oversimmered them. The looked like turds wrapped in cabbage. I brought them anyway, and made sure everyone knew what I thought they looked like. They ate them all anyway. ;)
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
7 Sep 2011 #640
If I could find Polish fast food from a nearby restaurant I would go there all the time. Someone should do this.
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Sep 2011 #641
Some years ago I ordered frozen (but home made) pierogi from some supposedly famous place somewhere in New England, I don't remember. Couple dozen about $50, styrofoam cooler shipping another $10 or $15. That was ridiculous, but I just had to try them. They were very good. I've learned how to make my own since. ;)
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Sep 2011 #642
The looked like turds wrapped in cabbage. I brought them anyway, and made sure everyone knew what I thought they looked like. They ate them all anyway. ;)

I love your imagery! LOL There's something about ground meat wrapped in cabbage. It's hard to mess up :)
What Polish soul food needs is a Steve Jobs-type to make it cool and hip - like sushi.
PlasticPole 7 | 2,649
7 Sep 2011 #643
I hope the restaurant would have a Polish vegetarian section.
rybnik 18 | 1,461
7 Sep 2011 #644
just doesn't sound right ;)
bullfrog 6 | 602
7 Sep 2011 #645
I hope the restaurant would have a Polish vegetarian section.

polish vegetarion section? Isn't that an oxymoron??
Teffle 22 | 1,321
7 Sep 2011 #646
So the key is to explore and get it out of your head that your mom's way was the best.

I really think this is the cause of a lot of the so-called blandness issues.

Mom/granny cooking. That is of course, cooking that "largely did not have access to the ideal ingredients most of the time and had to make do" type cooking.
Des Essientes 7 | 1,291
7 Sep 2011 #647
I really think this is the cause of a lot of the so-called blandness issues.

I find it hard to believe that there are not myriad Polish home cooks that create delicious and exciting food using the ingredients that the land of Poland provides: herbs, mushrooms, etc.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
7 Sep 2011 #648
Well, you would think, but blandness has mostly been my experience. It's an accusation very often levelled too as I'm sure you know.
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
7 Sep 2011 #649
If I could find Polish fast food from a nearby restaurant I would go there all the time. Someone should do this.

i would never have thought people could be bothered, but today lunch came from a Polish takeaway. it works here. it might work there.
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Sep 2011 #650
another problem is that most traditional Polish food people would expect, like pierogi or golabki are very labor intensive (as compared to slapping something on a grill, for example).
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
7 Sep 2011 #651
polish vegetarion section? Isn't that an oxymoron??

Eh?

Placki ziemniaczane, various types of pierogi, Polish salads, many different soups, pyzy,/kopytka/kluski Śląskie, a wide range of cakes/doughnuts/pancakes... there's lots of non-meat/fish dishes/foods in Polish cooking.

I really think this is the cause of a lot of the so-called blandness issues.

I've never been totally convinced by this one. Fish & chips is actually quite bland until you put vinegar on, as is pie & chips (unless you have a Balti pie, but I've only seen those in the west Midlands lol).

I think part of the problem is that Poles tend not to go out to eat as much as some cultures do, and much of the food isn't appealing enough to people over here. Also, there was never really a culture of a "Polish canteen for Polish workers" for the early immigrants, unlike what the Pakistanis/Indians had, so there wasn't really a range of places which could develop into restaurants in the same way. I imagine it's the same in the USA.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,455
7 Sep 2011 #652
I find it hard to believe that there are not myriad Polish home cooks that create delicious and exciting food using the ingredients that the land of Poland provides: herbs, mushrooms, etc.

Perhaps you should come and visit and see for yourself?
isthatu2 4 | 2,703
7 Sep 2011 #653
there's lots of non-meat/fish dishes/foods in Polish cooking.

Your buggered if you dont like cabbage though :) well,not literaly,I hope.....
Marynka11 4 | 676
7 Sep 2011 #654
Eh?

Placki ziemniaczane, various types of pierogi, Polish salads, many different soups, pyzy,/kopytka/kluski Śląskie, a wide range of cakes/doughnuts/pancakes... there's lots of non-meat/fish dishes/foods in Polish cooking.

It's just carbs, no protein. The protein usually comes from meat. Polish cuisine doesn't utilize beans in too creative way.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
7 Sep 2011 #655
Polish cuisine doesn't utilize beans in too creative way.

Well, my mum managed to! Some people just aren't "creative" enough, then. lol
_Kristin_ - | 6
7 Sep 2011 #656
Much of it is unhealthy and greasy, such as the greasy kielbasa or pierogi fried on bacon bits.

Most of the food I ate while visiting there wasn't all grease and fat let alone hardly eating kielbasa or pierogi. It's just stereo-typed that Poles only eat that day in and day out. Beside, have you heard Poles being among one of the fattest countries in the world?
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
7 Sep 2011 #657
Yeah, the same people who say that are probably the same ones who complain that there aren't enough Chinese or Indian takeaways in Poland lol
Teffle 22 | 1,321
8 Sep 2011 #658
Fish & chips is actually quite bland until you put vinegar on, as is pie & chips

Well, within reason. Poor quality versions are bland, yes, but a really good pie or fish & chips doesn't need any seasoning at all IMO. Personally I don't put anything on the chips I get - then again, I drive 8 km to get these beauties : )

The other thing is, the average British or Irish person doesn't eat this kind of thing very regularly. It's often referred to as "British food" which is silly - it's like saying pizza is "Polish food"

It's just popular British take away food.

Poles however do seem to eat actual "Polish food" very regularly.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
8 Sep 2011 #659
Well, within reason. Poor quality versions are bland, yes, but a really good pie or fish & chips doesn't need any seasoning at all IMO. Personally I don't put anything on the chips I get - then again, I drive 8 km to get these beauties : )

:)

Even so, I fail to see how, for example, pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms would be considered bland; it's certainly a strong flavour compared to a bag of chips! lol. But I do think that Polish food has a bad image, conjuring up images of grey, cold Stalinist architecture, women in "babcia" headscarves, and terrible shoulder-shrugging service. Yet the same people who would say they wouldn't eat Polish food, would quite happily go for some chicken noodle soup and some dim sum at a Chinese restaurant! It's effectively the same thing as our chicken soup followed by pierogi! haha

The other thing is, the average British or Irish person doesn't eat this kind of thing very regularly. It's often referred to as "British food" which is silly - it's like saying pizza is "Polish food"

Considering the anti-Semitism on this forum, I'm surprised that most Poles would even touch fish and chips - considering that half of it is effectively so-called "Jew food" - yet I know from experience, recent immigrants love our fish and chips ;)
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
8 Sep 2011 #660
sidliste_chodov wrote:

It's effectively the same thing as our chicken soup followed by pierogi! haha

not really.


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