Siemiginowski has big plans for his restaurant. Muza has
been open for a year and a half at the corner of 15th and
Congress streets in Troy, building up a devoted following
for its low-priced and very tasty Polish food.
It’s family run—Siemiginowski’s mother, Genowefa, runs the
floor, while his wife, Alicja, is in the kitchen—and a sense
of family informs the place, welcoming first-time visitors
as if they’ve been showing up all their lives. So why shouldn’t
they come more often and hang out longer?
There’s a vacant storefront on the corner, sharing a wall
with the restaurant. Siemiginowski would like to see that
become a market, reviving one of the building’s past lives.
There’s a hillside behind the buildings, and it’s already
in the process of being walled and terraced for outdoor dining,
with plans for entertainment.
Don’t doubt his ability to make this happen. Unless you examine
old photos, you won’t realize that the three small buildings
comprising the restaurant were once only two. He built the
one in the middle. For now, pay a visit to content yourself
with a cuisine that should have long since gained a Capital
Region foothold. If you’re lucky, you’ll sample the borscht.
I’ve sampled many varieties of this very varied soup, and
tried my hand at it in my own kitchen. Nothing has come close
to the Muza version. The regulation beets populate a broth
that’s thin but flavorful, lightly vinegared, and also sports
kidney beans, carrots, onions and allspice berries.
This I enjoyed with a $7 lunch special that included a trio
of pierogi, potato-filled dumplings topped with caramelized
onion bits. It goes beyond being merely traditional; it’s
also homemade, as the dumplings are pinched by hand. Should
you have mental charts of carbs and calories in mind, you
may well ask, “Why would I want to stuff potatoes in what’s
essentially thick ravioli?” You would thus be revealing yourself
as shamefully innocent of the satisfaction these hearty morsels
But let me tell you of an earlier meal, a dinner I enjoyed
with my family. We too often end up in two cars, which proved
even more problematic when I got the last parking spot in
front of the restaurant and my wife had to search around a
corner. With this act I may have killed chivalry once and
Tension vanished, though, as we studied the menu, which offers
a page headed “Polish Style” along with an even broader range
of continental items. For the fan of Polish food, golombki
are offered for $8, potato pancakes for $7. Kielbasa with
sautéed cabbage is $10.50; add potato pancakes for another
How about pierogi and golombki? It’s $8.50. Add potato pancakes
and it’s $10.50. But why not go all the way? The Polish Feast
is only $12.50 and gets you all of the above with an order
of mashed potatoes. The golombki are thin cabbage leaves wrapped
around a savory blend of pork and beef with rice; the potato
pancakes are crisp as a knish. And, while I’m not fussy about
kielbasa, being a great fan of any flavorful sausage, I was
especially impressed with this variety.
The menu variety is reflected in such items as chicken Marsala
($11.50), a creamy Tuscan chicken ($10.50), even the pineapple-crested
Hawaiian chicken ($11). While the beef section boasts a Muza
Specialty ($11.50) of potato pancakes stuffed with goulash
and served with a side of sauerkraut, we opted for the beef
Stroganoff (how often do you find that on a menu?),
which leaned more toward vinegar and mustard than the sour
cream-enhanced style to which I’m accustomed ($11.50). It
was all the more delightful for being unexpected.
A breaded pork cutlet is a wonderful thing, and it’s $9.50.
But the Vienna Schnitzel we sampled ($11) adds a fried egg
and sautéed cabbage.
Four preparations of fish are available. The fish itself is
tilapia or flounder, and you can get it prepared with sauces
like lemon-dill, white wine and mushrooms, or tomato for $12.
Get a simpler fish fry for $10.
In the vegetarian section there are crepes and croquettes.
The spinach crepes ($7) are nicely seasoned with garlic and
come as a small, satisfying portion.
Some of the plates arrive a little empty, so check to see
what sides you’re getting and order more if you expect to
be hungry. Coleslaw, sauerkraut, carrots, sautéed cabbage,
steamed vegetables, potatoes, rice and noodles are offered
for $1.50 to $2 apiece.
Muza is an easygoing place, and the service is appropriately
casual. We always had the comfortable sense of being looked
after, and everyone involved in the place was very eager to
please us. I look forward to keeping up with the changes and
improvements that are in the works; I think this Polish restaurant
is a keeper.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
the fourth anniversary of Troy’s Flavour Café
(228 4th St.) from Feb. 27 to 29, when you’ll
be able to sample brews and baked goods, sandwiches
and frozen drinks, soups and other munchies as
you enjoy live music all day. Owner Charlie Staats
has scheduled a day of events to tie in with Troy
Night Out, an ongoing last-Friday-of-the-month
event, and extending through the weekend as part
of the Little Italy Winter Festival. Drawing from
area schools, the entertainment will include the
Rusty Pipes from RPI, Russell Sage’s Sagettes,
and the Bookdrop Bees, dorm parents from Emma
Willard. General manager Joe Mancino says that
four new menu items will be introduced, along
with coupons and other deals on coffee and food
through the month of March. . . . Remember to
pass your scraps to Metroland.