I have long been a fan of Polish food, at least of the variety available in the United States. Perhaps I should specify “Chicago”, since I have a difficult time getting particularly excited about any of the Polish food I've had in Greenpoint (now Peter Pan Donuts – that's another story!). So when the New York International Opera Project (NYIOP) engaged me to play for their auditions in Kraków, I was thrilled to finally have a good reason to go to Poland (and getting paid is one of the best reasons to go almost anywhere in my book) and try the cuisine at its source. It did not disappoint. Poland is a land of real food, in the same way that Spain is.
On the evening of my first full day in the country, I had the meal I had been dreaming about. Poznań is Poland's 5th -largest city, with a charming old market square (stary rynek). And just off that square is a gem of a restaurant called Wiejskie Jadło. Its name is Polish for “rural food”, and it lives up to every promise contained therein.
Żurek is one of my very favorite Polish creations, a tangy soup made with fermented rye. Add kielbasa, potato, and some hard-boiled egg (żur z kiełbasą, ziemniakiem oraz jajkiem) and you have... my kind of dish. Marjoram is the perfect herb to round out the flavor.
When I saw golonka pieczona z sosem śliwkowym i zasmażaną kapustą (roast pork hock with plum sauce and sautéed cabbage) on the menu, I knew I had to order it. It fulfilled every expectation, and then some. It's huge, so you'd best be hungry.
A complimentary glass of house-made cherry liqueur accompanies the check – another detail that reminded me of my beloved Spain.
The menu is large and varied, and I would suggest going with a group, if you can, and order one of their combinations so you can try the greatest number of dishes. Poland is, in general, a bargain for Westerners, and the prices here are eminently reasonable.
The restaurant itself is comfortable, with a pleasant rustic décor, and the multi-lingual waitstaff could not be more pleasant and accommodating.
ul. Stary Rynek 77
Poznań 61-772 Poland
+48 61 853 66 00