On this edition of World Food LA, say “Na Zdrowie!” because we’re eating in Poland!!
Not many people think of Poland when brainstorming countries with good cuisine, however it is definitely quite unique. People’s first assumption is to just dismiss Polish food as being “bleh”, but it’s very hearty and tasty. There’s not many places to find good, Eastern European cuisine (still busting my ass off looking for an authentic Hungarian goulash on this side of the Atlantic). But Solidarity in Santa Monica hit the spot.
Our waiter was a jolly, young Polish man named Kevin (but he was like straight off the boat from Poland, so he pronounced it “Kee-win” He was fantastic and I wish Kee-win was my waiter for every meal. Although he often times forgot our order or to bring us menus, he made up for it 1,000,000x over with his over the top charm and general enthusiastic unfamiliarity with the United States or American culture..
For drinks I got a Polish beer called Zywiec which tasted like your standard pale lager (I’ve had it once before mid-flight out of a layover in Warsaw).
And then… this incredible Polish vodka called Żubrówka that we sipped through, with dinner. It was unlike any vodka I’ve ever had before (apparently it’s made with this “Bison Grass” and that’s what gives it it’s specific, distinct taste). It went down so smooth and totally changed how I felt about sipping (not shooting) vodka. Highly recommend giving it a try if you happen to see it anywhere (later found out they actually sell it at BevMo).
We started with an Appetizer Sampler featuring kielbasa (sausage), pierogie (potato dumplings), placki (fried potato & applesauce cakes) and mizeria (cucumber with cream dressing). I love any place that has a good sampler, and Solidarity was no different. The sausages weren’t too greasy (and actually had a great crisp) while the applesauce/potato hashbrowns were to die for! Perfectly flaky. The cumber was also refreshing.
Then, we got some Chicken Pierogi just to try. Although it was drowning in a sauce, it was a good, standard, eastern European ravioli. All the buttery-potatoey-gooey flavor you could want.
And now the main event. I wanted to be adventurous so I decided to get the “Golabki” or “Beef Stuffed Cabbage.” It was delicious. The cabbage was stuffed wonderfully seasoned ground beef and rice. It was coated in a very tasty tomato-cream sauce (more heavy on the tomato, less on the cream), which lessened any toughness there might’ve been from the cabbage. The cabbage was a great vehicle for the beef/rice and sauce to be eaten all-together in one bite. The entree came with a side of steamed broccoli and while I don’t like steamed broccoli (I prefer it oven-roasted, salted and charred to oblivion), it was fine. Overall, the broccoli and mashed potatoes were a nice touch, especially when all mixed together with the Golabki’s super tasty sauce.
Finally, we finished off with this beast apple tart and ice cream. Ahhhh, the eastern Europeans and their fruity tarts.
If you’re looking to get out of your comfort zone and try some food that not many people (without connections to Poland) would eat, then absolutely head on down to Solidarity and give it a taste.
SOLIDARITY POLISH RESTARAUNT
1414 Lincoln Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90401