On Thursday afternoon after my photography class, I wandered around the East Village while thinking, "...What the hell do I eat for lunch?" I called some friends; no one picked up. Hmm. And by "nobody" I mean three people, one of which was a wrong number (apparently, I don't keep in touch with that friend very well). It just wasn't my day. But I wouldn't let the lack of human interaction get me down. Nuh uhhh!
Think, Robyn. There's always a place you want to try out! Heeeeelllo, you're in NYC, THIIIIIINK.
Mmm, Ukrainian East Village Restaurant: who wouldn't wanna eat there? CRAZIES. And even they might want to eat there. Not being one to eat Ukrainian food often/ever, I decided to dip into my nonexistent Ukrainian heritage through the gastronomic route (aka, the Tasty Train). I walked down the long hallway towards the glowing neon sign buried deeeeep within and entered...
...a fairly empty room. Hm. It was lunch time, yes? Yes. Where are the hungry masses? Did they get lost in the hallway? The decor is interesting, very...woodsy, and more formal than I would've expected.
While their lunch menu has a bunch of things on it, naturally none of which I remember because I lack photographic memory (which is what my camera is for), my eyes zoomed in on pierogies and blintzes. I've had pierogies and blintzes before...once. For shame! Only once! I had pierogies from Veselka a few years ago and just a bite of a friend's blintz from the Country Pancake House last summer. While at first I was trying to decide between pierogies or blintzes, I naturally came to the conclusion that I may as well get both. Hell, it wasn't that expensive, and...hell, I'm Robyn, so I think ordering two things is expected of me. When I asked the waitress what she liked, she recommended blintzes; of course, that just reinforced the fact that blintzes were in my future.
But first, spinach pierogies smothered in onions. Mmmmmmm. Of course, there was no question of whether I'd like them or not since I love dumplings. Using Chinese dumplings as a comparison point, pierogies have thicker, doughier skins and completely different fillings, many times cheese based. I'm not talking gooey, stringy cheese of course, but something like cottage or ricotta cheese (fill me in if you have a better knowledge of Eastern European food, which would be just about anyone that isn't me). The spinach filling was a mixture of spinach and cheese and was filling without feeling too heavy, if that makes any sense. It went down smoooothly and I had no trouble at all cleaning my plate. Good thing too, since I had an order of blueberry blintzes coming up.
Looking nothing like the blintzes I saw at the Country Pancake House, my first impression was, "Hmm, they seem kinda...thin?" Like the pierogies though, I knew there was no reason I wouldn't like the blintzes because I enjoy a good wheat, egg, and sugar amalgamation, and...hey, this has wheat, egg, and sugar! The sweet smell of the pan-fried wrappers wafted upwards, conveniently traveling through my nasal passages. Mmmm...smells like delicious...
Hell yeah, this was good; the waitress knew her stuff. The golden wrapper was slighty crispy around the edges and remained soft in the center while still retaining its structure (as in, it didn't splodge gooey blueberry innards all over the place, which is always a plus). I cut small sections with my fork and dipped them into the accompanying sour cream before unleashing them onto my stomach acids, gradually demolishing both pieces (as though you were expecting something else). So. Tasty. Mm. Mmmm. Triple mmm. Etc. I think I found my new food obsession. Yes!
For about $10, I got a filling, satisfying meal (just enough food; no feelings of "Oh god, I need a stomach pump" here!) with friendly service in a spacious room. Also, there was no cellphone nazi! Hoorah! I wouldn't hesitate to go back, preferable with someone else (so that I can try twice as many things, ah-ha), but there are so many more Eastern European goodies in the East Village that demand my attention. That is, if they have pierogies and blintzes. Perhaps it's a shame that I've ignored the rest of the menu, but...hey, I'm not complaining. I like my "dough stuffed with stuff". I'd love to open a restaurant whose theme was "dough stuffed with stuff". There could even be "dough stuffed with dough". But anyway, that's off topic.
More blintzes and pierogies coming soon.