By Andrew Z. Galarneau
Here’s some background to my rave review of Polish Villa II (1085 Harlem Road, Cheektowaga, thevilla.biz, 822-4908), published in today’s
Chef-owner Ed Kutas, who has run the place with his wife Rosanna
since 2006, introduced a new menu in November. It’s “100 percent
Polish-American, more traditional,” he said. He added dishes like the bigos, or
hunter’s stew, with sausage, sauerkraut, mushrooms, and beef chuck or pork
I can't tell you how authentic it is, because I've never been to Poland. I can tell you it's delicious in a compelling way, the kind of food you carefully collect into leftover containers and actually reheat and devour the next day.
I can also tell you that Ed Kutas and his cooks put a lot of work into $7 appetizers and $12 meals (the bigos is $11, actually). Meals come with salad or soup, choice of potato (including the terrific potato pancake) and another vegetable (hard to go wrong with the bacon-studded sweet-and-sour cabbage).
Unless you're a vegetarian, of course. Then you might enjoy the potato pancakes and his pierogies, especially the mushroom number.
Those are dried wild Polish
mushrooms, soaked for a week and tumbled to remove grit, Kutas said. The woodsy flavor is
prominent after they’re sauted with garlic and onions and enriched with goat
cheese, thrilling mushroom lovers. Two fat empanada-sized dumplings, duded up with
sweet caramelized onions and sour cream, for the princely sum of $7.
There’s lots of little touches like that. The house dressing
has caraway seeds and the plum sauce with the shvinki, crispy pork fingers, is
cooked down from fresh plums. The beet soup starts with kielbasa stock.
Check it out and see what you think. There’s a widescreen
projection television at one end of the dining room, which did not exactly enrich my dining experience. But if you want to eat and
watch a Sabres game, the eats at Polish Villa II will be a whole lot better than your living room.
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