September 3, 2018

Food for Thought

My wife is half Polish so when she saw the picture of pierogis in the window of this Russian restaurant in Brighton Beach, her Polish gene lit up in every cell of her body. She just had to have it even though we had just eaten something else.

In the 90s, we frequented the Polish/Ukranian restaurants in the East Village. There are a few still left, like Veselka, but most of them are gone. Since my wife grew up in the East Village all her life, she misses them a lot. In Brighton Beach, her eyes lit up everywhere she turned.

But even in the 90s, the standards of the Polish restaurants in the East Village weren’t so high because, by then, most of the customers weren’t Polish or Ukranian. My wife has always told me that the food her grandmother cooked was clearly superior. In a community full of people with the same standards as hers, the restaurants would certainly have to raise their standards too. This particular restaurant met my wife’s standards.

But to be precise, this restaurant bills itself as a Russian restaurant, and by looking at the menu, you can tell that it leans towards Uzbek. We didn’t technically have pierogi; we had “vareniki”. We didn’t technically have blintz; we had “blintez.” A vareniki is visibly smaller than a typical pierogi. A blintez looked very much like a blintz; the letter “e” does not seem to affect the food.

We ordered cherry blintezs and, as you can see in the picture (swipe), they literally contain nothing but cherries; no jelly or syrup. The sweetness, I think, was coming only from the cherries. No powdered sugar on top either. I loved them.

The skin of the vareniki was thin. My wife has always complained about the skin of the restaurant pierogis being too thick. Her grandmother used to make the skin from scratch and made them very thin. This one we had today matched her grandmother’s version.

My wife was almost teary from the memories of her childhood

#russianfood #uzbekfood #brightonbeach #nyceats #nycfoodie #vareniki #blintez #pierogi #blintz #cherry