I can't argue with that. While the food was good, the company was better. And while I consider myself a modest person, I ain't gonna lie: I have some of the coolest friends in the world (yeah, yeah, I have yet to meet billions of the other people who walk this earth, but I still stand by my statement) and I take pride in the moments when I mix friends together for optimal awesomeness. Admittedly, the trio of Tristan, Colin, and Greg (who couldn't make it; so his loss) makes it easy since their powers combined tend to result in "awesome super fun time" no matter the situation. We could be stranded in a pool of mud in the middle of nowhere with a broken-down car and it'd probably be fun. Until we died of starvation. I'm sure Greg would exchange hand puppet gestures with me until the very end.
The potent Tristan-Colin-Greg combination may not appeal to everyone, but whatever inexplicable level of randomness and weirdness they produce puts me at ease, along with many other friends I introduce them to. I wish I could regale you with the night's conversations, but I forgot most of them (I can still recall the cackling and guffawing, though). This is why I should take notes: to remember the conversation, less so to remember the food. I can take photos of a roasted pork hock, but no image could adequately capture Colin's babbling about eunuchs. Which might be for the best.
AND SO HERE ARE THE FOOD PHOTOS! With not much else, because my knowledge of Polish food is sort of nonexistent. I'll gladly listen to anyone willing to school me in Polish Food 101.
Before we ordered, we snacked on complimentary bread and cukes with a chickeny spread, or what I thought was a chickeny spread until I read Jason's review at Me So Hungry—he says it's smalec, a lard-based spread (although he also notes it may be chicken-based). Not knowing what it was when I was eating it, chicken fat is the only flavor I remember. It wasn't intense; maybe it was a mix of animal fats, forming a most delicious hybrid fat spread.
I don't love bacon on its own, but it's great as an extra layer of crispy-savory-fatty-smokiness when wrapped around other foods—hot dogs and shrimp, for example. Or, in this case, prunes.
Their menu listed red borscht and Ukrainian borscht. I picked the latter for no particular reason. It's a creamy dill-flecked soup full of vegetable chunks, mostly beet, among other things I don't remember. We passed the bowl around the table; it's all a blur. A well-seasoned blur.
Kings potato pancakes consisted of crispy bite-sized potato pancakes topped with a dollop of herb cream and smoked salmon. I sort of want a full-sized version that could cover the whole plate. And then I'd eat it.
The Polish plate looked pretty sweet, filled with pierogis, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, and potato pancakes. Alas, it wasn't my dish.
Nor was the roasted hocks in beer. Colin regretted his order about a second after the waitress left our table. "Why did I get fuckin' hocks? Are they going to be raw? It's gonna suck. WHAT WAS I THINKING?" And after all that worrying, it ended up being the best thing on the table. Majorly tender, flavorful pork under a fat layer of...well, fat. Count in that the portion was huge for only $8 and it's a win. Definitely order this.
Pork on a stick.
I ordered the pork shish bebab with bacon and prunes (says plum on the menu), which was unfortunately not bursting with porcine succulence like the hock. These pork nubs were on the dry side. Oh well, still edible.
We shared a combination plate of fried pierogies topped with sweet sautéed onions. I didn't find them much better or worse than other fried pierogies I've had; as pierogies are wont to do, they satisfied my craving for heavy chunks of fried dough. With stuff in the middle.
And although my photo seems to have disappeared (sniffle), I also liked Tristan's breaded tilapia.
The award for "Worst Thing on the Table" went to Scott's pyzy, oblong baseball-sized potato dumplings stuffed with ground meat-n-stuff. From afar they resembled disturbingly large, glistening, snow white alien egg sacs. That's not a good thing for a dish to look like. It didn't actually taste bad—the texture reminded me of sticky rice à la zong zi with a little less chew—but it wasn't nearly as flavorful as the other food we had eaten. It lacked oomph.
MAKE IT SPEAK. SPEEEAK.
So Scott gave it a higher purpose in this world, that purpose being "to conjure gleeful laugh-spasms from the depths of the human soul," by turning the remains into a pyzy puppet. Kim took a video that I'll have to get later. Because it was awesome. Really. It was the highlight of the dinner. Scott is very good with puppetry, including the potato-based sort levered by a fork.
One of my favorite parts of the meal was the variety of salads that came with the entrées: coleslaw, sauerkraut, cucumber slices in a creamy sauce with dill, puréed beets, and maybe others I didn't get a photo of. I'm generally a fan of any vegetable side dish that automatically comes with a meal.
Since half the table had ordered the dinner special of an entré, beer, and dessert (I forget what the price was, but I'm sure it was cheap), we ended up with a few slices of unmemorable cheesecake, along with a slice of apple pie that seemed to be in the defrosting stage.
I went straight for the blintzes; it's a requirement whenever I eat at a Polish restaurant. They weren't part of the dinner special, which I hadn't ordered since I don't drink beer. Unlike the log-like blintzes from Lomzynianka, these were folded into wide rectangular pockets. My two blintzes, a blueberry and cheese and a strawberry and cheese (I assume it's cottage cheese or something similar), came topped with a pile of whipped cream, a spiral-cut orange slice, and a maraschino cherry. I would've preferred a crispier crust, but these were still good—a just sweet enough combination of thin, eggy pancake with fruity jam and a light dairy buffer.
Veronica is blocked by a parking meter. Oops.
After the meal was over, my first impression was that I liked Lomzynianka more, but the menus are different, as are the environments. Lomzynianka is bright, small, charmingly festooned with random decorations, homey; I felt like I was eating in someone's mismatched living room. Krolewskie Jadlo is large, dark (well, if the sun's not out), woody, resembling no one's home unless it's medieval-themed with swords on the wall. If I want pierogies and blintzes, I'll go to Lomzynianka; if I want a big lump-o-pork hock and a table that seats eight, I'll go to Krolewskie Jadlo. And while I sort of want to explore other Polish restaurants (give me recs if you've got em!), I mostly want to go back to Lomzynianka to try their huge potato pancake.