With the closing of places like Leshko’s and Kiev over the past few years New York’s East Village is progressively losing its Eastern European flavor. With an old school diner vibe, Little Poland is one of the remaining holdouts where you can still get your stuffed cabbage. Borchst and pierogi fix. Oddly though Little Poland does not sell fried latka and the waiter gave us the stink eye when we inquired about them. My dining companions gave the stuffed cabbage excellent reviews, while I focused on the pierogi.
The Dumplings: Little Poland sells Cheese , Meat (Beef), Potato, Kasha, Sauerkraut with Mushrooms, Spinach, Sweet Potato and “Very Special Pierogi”. For this outing we tried the Sauerkraut and Mushroom ones and of course we had to try the “Very Special Pierogi” (VSP) which are stuffed potato, sauerkraut and cheese and come with a bowl of special sauce. The fried Sauerkraut and Mushroom pierogi were excellent, the blend of the earthy savory mushrooms, the sour of the ‘kraut and the fry flavor of the dough worked together perfectly. These were really worth trying and are vegan. Unfortunately the fried VSP did not live up to their name, they really just had a mildly salty, savory flavor without anything special going on. If you live by the maxum “frying makes everything better” I would assume the boiled version of VSP are even weaker.
The Dipping Sauce: the Sauerkraut and Mushroom pierogi came with sauteed onions, but we had to pay a dollar each for sour cream and apple sauce. Most places give you these traditional fixings for free. The special sauce that came with the VSP was actually quite good, it was a thick, creamy onion sauce. The dish worked best when I gave up on wanting the VSP to have a discernible flavor and just used the pierogi as a Special Sauce delivery vehicle.
The Location: Little Poland is on 2nd ave between 12 and 13th streets in Manhattan. This area is quickly changing from a little Eastern European enclave into Asian Dumpling Alley.