Taste of Poland
Canada St., Lake George, 668-4386. Serving daily, noon-9.
AE, D, MC, V.
price range: $11 (blintzes or potato pancakes) to $20
Lake George casual
Kosz was a medical doctor in his native Poland. His interest
in food service arose from an interest in the nutritional
and healing potential of food, and this he parlayed, eight
years ago in Lake George, into a restaurant.
The establishment has moved a few blocks down Canada Street,
Lake George’s main drag, to the busy center of the village.
At the height of summer, it’s phenomenally busy, so this relocation
has been a good thing for the restaurant, as it has to fight
against the not-too-adventurous culinary conditioning of so
many of the tourists.
A Taste of Poland actually offers more than its modest name
suggests. It’s a full-blown visit to an old-fashioned Polish
kitchen where the kielbasa has the dark and spicy flavors
of homemade, and the golombki bursts at the seams.
In other words, it’s an anomaly. On the street, we dodged
families dressed in matching outfits of T-shirts, baggy shorts
and sandals; inside the restaurant, we sat next to a fellow
wearing a suit and tie. This is not to say that A Taste of
Poland is a fancy place. It’s very casual and accommodating,
but our neighbor was a classier brand of traveler who happened
also to be a friend of Dr. Kosz.
Lake George becomes an international service mecca during
the summer. I’ve heard a variety of dialects from the many
youthful servers imported for the summer; at A Taste of Poland
(as is now common throughout the Adirondacks), the dialect
is decidedly Eastern European.
We were welcomed by a porch-stationed greeter. The day was
pleasant enough to invite dining out on the deck, but we choose
to go inside.
Like your grandmother’s dining room, the main eating area
invites you to sit at a big old table; and, like in my grandmother’s
dining room, you’re stuck with paper napkins.
The menu offers an accessible selection, heavy on sausage
and breading. For a starter, I ordered koreczki, which
loosely translates as “finger foods.” The $4.90 appetizer
includes a skewered sampling of excellent kielbasa with sweet
pepper slices alongside wedges of a strong-flavored, delicious
Polish cheese, served on greens with a side of mustard.
Other starters include herring with or without cream sauce,
and potato pancakes with smoked salmon ($5.90 each).
Nobody wanted tripe soup (flaki, $5), but it was only
because we ordered so much else that we didn’t try the borscht
($4). Chicken noodle soup ($5), vegetable soup ($4) and cold
fruit soup ($4) also are available.
Unusual salad offerings include stewed cabbage, sauerkraut
salad, gherkins, and a beetroot array ($3 each). You may know
“miseria” as an Italian plaint: It was supposed to be the
cry of Queen Bona Sforza, the Italian princess who married
16th-century Polish King Sigismund and grew homesick every
time she tasted a salad of cucumber slices tossed in dill-flavored
sour cream. Mizeria ($3) is a Polish treat reminiscent
of tzat ziki, and it’s a nice dinner accompaniment
on a warm day.
We needed to try pierogies, and we needed to sample potato
pancakes. We desired golombki and wanted to try bigos,
a stew often regarded as the national dish of Poland, and
a traditional New Year’s treat.
All of this is available on the Taste of Poland Plate (for
two), a $38 solution to the challenge of sampling so much.
The preparation of bigos varies from household to household.
Here it’s made by stewing cabbage with kielbasa and mushrooms
with a little red wine and a flavoring of apple. It’s filling
and delicious, available as a separate entrée for $12.
Potato pancakes, an $11 entrée, are as you’d expect, but in
a good way. Smooth and rich, they’re served with sides of
applesauce and sour cream.
The platter pierogies are cheese-filled and suggestive of
ravioli but with a different texture in the shell. Order them
as a stand-alone entrée and you can get them filled with sauerkraut
and mushrooms ($13) or with Polish farmer cheese and mashed
I enjoy all the stuffing that’s going on here. Golombki, of
course, is stuffed cabbage ($15); there’s a roast pork loin
stuffed with prunes and apricots ($17). But what really caught
my eye was the Warsaw cutlet ($17), a breaded pork cutlet
stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms, which was served with
a side of homemade mashed potatoes. It’s as much about heft
as it is about flavor, a rugged peasant dish with a pleasing
And a filling one. A cup of coffee was about all I could manage
as a post-prandial choice, before it was back to the bustle
of Canada Street.
Service was friendly and efficient. There’s a large, boat-shaped
bar if you just want to nurse a Polish beer, and a lunch menu
is offered for early-in-the-day dining. A Taste of Poland
also offers dining and overnights at a former dude ranch in
Thurman, near Johnsburg. Check the Web site at taste-of-poland.com
for more information.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
significant cigar dinners take place this month.
Habana Premium Cigar Shop has combined
with John and Bobby Mallozzi to present a black-tie
event at the Italian American Community Center,
257 Washington Ave. Extension, Albany, at 6 PM
on Sept. 23. The menu includes yellow pumpkin
ravioli, cinnamon scented duck breast in a bing
cherry reduction, double-bone lamb chop with whipped
Yukon potato, espresso bread pudding and much,
much more. Each guest gets an assortment of four
premium cigars. Price is $100 per person; black
tie is optional. Call 690-2222 for more info and
reservations. . . . Saratoga Rose Inn and Restaurant
(4136 Rockwell St. Hadley) presents Dinner and
Cigars Under the Stars at 7 PM on Sept. 18, featuring
three world-renowned Davidoff Cigars courtesy
of Cup O’ Joes and a seated buffet dinner under
a tent in a Victorian garden. The buffet includes
boneless breast of chicken with wild mushrooms
in madeira sauce, smoked cajun loin of pork with
bourbon and molasses sauce, orzo with caramelized
onions and fresh sage, along with Saratoga Rose
Inn house wines and beer. It’s $100 per person,
including tax and tip, and requires a reservation.
Call 1-800-942-5025 or 518-696-2861.