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Podhalanka Polish Restaurant [Pictures]

Podhalanka Polish Restaurant [Pictures]
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  • Post #61 - April 11th, 2013, 11:16 am
    Post #61 - April 11th, 2013, 11:16 am Post #61 - April 11th, 2013, 11:16 am
    JimInLoganSquare wrote:Given the rapid changes going on in this area (e.g., the new apartment high-rise being built on Division and Ashland and changes all up and down Milwaukee), I hope Podhalanka doesn't get gentrified out of existence like Busy Bee did, but I plan to take advantage of it more than I have in the past while I still can.


    Amen!
  • Post #62 - April 11th, 2013, 5:07 pm
    Post #62 - April 11th, 2013, 5:07 pm Post #62 - April 11th, 2013, 5:07 pm
    I've never really eaten Polish food before (other than a random Pierogie)... Is this a good place to start? I've also heard good things about a place called Smak-Tak...

    Also, my gf is not really a "meat and potatoes" eater (she definitely eats meat and such, but likes her veggies), and she dislikes sour cream. Should I go here alone? :wink:
    www.justnoms.com
    Rate the Food, Not the Restaurant
    @justnoms_com
  • Post #63 - April 11th, 2013, 5:50 pm
    Post #63 - April 11th, 2013, 5:50 pm Post #63 - April 11th, 2013, 5:50 pm
    mdpilam wrote:I've never really eaten Polish food before (other than a random Pierogie)... Is this a good place to start? I've also heard good things about a place called Smak-Tak...

    Also, my gf is not really a "meat and potatoes" eater (she definitely eats meat and such, but likes her veggies), and she dislikes sour cream. Should I go here alone? :wink:


    I haven't eaten at Podhalanka but I can vouch for Smak Tak. Let's put it this way--this is the ideal weather to try this particular cuisine. The Smak Tak thread http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=14884&hilit=smak+tak will give you plenty of suggestions on what to order. Highlights for me were the mushroom soup, pierogis and a few bites of the Hungarian pancake (NO WAY I could eat a whole meal of this--entirely too rich for me). Vegetables mainly consist of mushrooms, carrots, cabbage (boiled and sauerkraut) and beets. I don't recall anything green other than cukes but those were in sour cream. I'd suggest showing her the menu and seeing what she thinks--on days like today, a couple of pierogi and a bowl of mushroom soup are welcomed, even by those of us who usually insist on some kind of green on our plates :D Look forward to hearing what you think!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #64 - April 11th, 2013, 6:33 pm
    Post #64 - April 11th, 2013, 6:33 pm Post #64 - April 11th, 2013, 6:33 pm
    Smak Tak is a prettier dining room and has certain menu items like that Hungarian pancake that are ne plus ultra dishes. However, I'd give Podhalanka's soups, potato pancakes, and pierogi the nod over Smak Tak; and the decor certainly has more character, if less prettiness. Basically, I think it's a tie, and you need to do both.
    JiLS
  • Post #65 - April 12th, 2013, 12:54 pm
    Post #65 - April 12th, 2013, 12:54 pm Post #65 - April 12th, 2013, 12:54 pm
    Jim,

    I get the impression the guy who made my last visit so unpleasant has been less intrusive than I described earlier? When he suggested the seasoning for your soup, he wasn't adding it without asking, right? He simply suggested and you did the deed?

    In the distant past, the most up-selling was an addition of an egg to the white Borscht. My list visit was off the charts.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #66 - April 12th, 2013, 1:06 pm
    Post #66 - April 12th, 2013, 1:06 pm Post #66 - April 12th, 2013, 1:06 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:I get the impression the guy who made my last visit so unpleasant has been less intrusive than I described earlier? When he suggested the seasoning for your soup, he wasn't adding it without asking, right? He simply suggested and you did the deed?


    That's right.
    JiLS
  • Post #67 - April 21st, 2014, 1:14 pm
    Post #67 - April 21st, 2014, 1:14 pm Post #67 - April 21st, 2014, 1:14 pm
    After some friends of mine were mistreated here a couple yrs ago, I hadn't been back in solidarity w/their experience. A chef buddy of mine dropped by my house for a meeting today, it's a short walk and he was hoping for Polish… Sorry to say our boy/I suspect nephew was as pushy/intrusive as ever. Offering us a lunch w/some asst greatest hits, I asked him the price. $50. You've got to be fucking kidding me. Also watched him pour Maggi into a lone woman's soup unasked. As she was freaking out, he just continued saying "trust me, it's better this way". Apperently she didn't think so as she left soon after, leaving most of it uneaten.

    Food was as good as always but he's a shame. Maybe bigos again next winter, but only w/Helena in charge.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #68 - April 22nd, 2014, 8:47 am
    Post #68 - April 22nd, 2014, 8:47 am Post #68 - April 22nd, 2014, 8:47 am
    Jazzfood wrote:After some friends of mine were mistreated here a couple yrs ago, I hadn't been back in solidarity w/their experience. A chef buddy of mine dropped by my house for a meeting today, it's a short walk and he was hoping for Polish… Sorry to say our boy/I suspect nephew was as pushy/intrusive as ever. Offering us a lunch w/some asst greatest hits, I asked him the price. $50. You've got to be fucking kidding me. Also watched him pour Maggi into a lone woman's soup unasked. As she was freaking out, he just continued saying "trust me, it's better this way". Apperently she didn't think so as she left soon after, leaving most of it uneaten.

    Food was as good as always but he's a shame. Maybe bigos again next winter, but only w/Helena in charge.

    That guy ruins it for me, I won't go any longer.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #69 - May 9th, 2014, 12:09 pm
    Post #69 - May 9th, 2014, 12:09 pm Post #69 - May 9th, 2014, 12:09 pm
    The situation with Podhalanka really bums me out.

    I visited for lunch today and the upselling waiter served me and my friend. Shortly after we sat down he offered us the standard order he's pushed on me in the past: a cup of juice, a soup, a mix plate of pancakes, pierogies, blintzes, golabkis, and kielbasas. This is definitely more food than we were looking for on this trip and I firmly responded that I didn't want all that and that we'd order ourselves. A couple minutes later he stopped by and took our order with no more pressure. When he delivered the soup he picked up the maggi seasoning and insisted that we splash some in our soup. I told him I would try it and he left us alone after that.

    We enjoyed a terrific meal and I didn't feel the pressure intruded on our experience at all. I can see how his aggressiveness can turn people off and certainly his tone is more forceful than I would consider appropriate. Without a doubt his approach detracts from the tremendous charm Podhlanka exudes when the always pleasant Helen is taking your order. But I still love the place and will continue to return as long as they serve their fantastic white borscht and crispy potato pancakes.
  • Post #70 - May 9th, 2014, 1:39 pm
    Post #70 - May 9th, 2014, 1:39 pm Post #70 - May 9th, 2014, 1:39 pm
    I'm not arguing--believe me, I'm not. I experienced the guy once, and even though he wasn't a problem for me, I don't say he can't be for others. But I wonder if there's a benign interpretation to be made of his shtick. That is, rather than it being all about upselling, I wonder if he sees his role as that of helpful guide to urbanites. To put words in his mouth (words which he doesn't utter but may be thinking): "I can see that you are people who don't come here all the time. You are from outside the Polish community. Let me make sure you get to taste a wonderful sampling of everything we have to offer, because I bet that's what you really want but may not be conversant enough with our cuisine to ask for. Relax, put yourself in my hands, I will take good care of you, and even if you can't finish everything, you will leave happy."

    Possible?
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #71 - May 9th, 2014, 1:54 pm
    Post #71 - May 9th, 2014, 1:54 pm Post #71 - May 9th, 2014, 1:54 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Possible?


    Highly unlikely.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #72 - May 9th, 2014, 2:04 pm
    Post #72 - May 9th, 2014, 2:04 pm Post #72 - May 9th, 2014, 2:04 pm
    riddlemay wrote:I'm not arguing--believe me, I'm not. I experienced the guy once, and even though he wasn't a problem for me, I don't say he can't be for others. But I wonder if there's a benign interpretation to be made of his shtick. That is, rather than it being all about upselling, I wonder if he sees his role as that of helpful guide to urbanites. To put words in his mouth (words which he doesn't utter but may be thinking): "I can see that you are people who don't come here all the time. You are from outside the Polish community. Let me make sure you get to taste a wonderful sampling of everything we have to offer, because I bet that's what you really want but may not be conversant enough with our cuisine to ask for. Relax, put yourself in my hands, I will take good care of you, and even if you can't finish everything, you will leave happy."

    Possible?

    It is total upsell when the bill reaches $50, while he doctors your soup to his taste. I no longer suggest it to anyone.

    Prior to his appearance, the only upsell was adding a boiled egg to your white borsch.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #73 - May 9th, 2014, 2:15 pm
    Post #73 - May 9th, 2014, 2:15 pm Post #73 - May 9th, 2014, 2:15 pm
    I'm w/Steve. If he wasn't selling you on a meal that's 2-3 times more expensive than when left on your own you'd spend, that may be plausable. $50 for lunch @ a place you'd have a prob spending $15? I don't buy it (literally).
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #74 - May 9th, 2014, 2:23 pm
    Post #74 - May 9th, 2014, 2:23 pm Post #74 - May 9th, 2014, 2:23 pm
    I, too, am convinced it's an upsell. On occasion, I've had to be quite firm with him, though he's always let me do what I want when I've made it clear I know the score. But usually either he's not there or he's not a nuisance (like today). If I had to fight him every time I visited I'd agree with those who are done with Podhalanka, but the joy I get from visiting still exceeds the hassle of dealing with the guy.
  • Post #75 - May 9th, 2014, 5:09 pm
    Post #75 - May 9th, 2014, 5:09 pm Post #75 - May 9th, 2014, 5:09 pm
    $50 for lunch (at a Polish restaurant) is ridiculous. You've convinced me.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #76 - May 10th, 2015, 4:17 pm
    Post #76 - May 10th, 2015, 4:17 pm Post #76 - May 10th, 2015, 4:17 pm
    Been awhile since I've been here, and while the food was solid as ever very sorry to say our boy is still obnoxious as ever. Recognizing me, he didn't try the upsell too hard, or Maggi'ing up my soup, but he persisted upon unsuspecting others @ the counter, pouring it onto their soup w/o asking and what turned into against their wishes, and serving a deuce enough for 5. "Let me take care of it" rings in my ears as they walk out having spent double of what they should have and leaving over 1/2 of what he took care of, because as tourists w/map in hand, they have no refrigerator for leftovers... or need 2 soups, 12 pierogies, 4 potato pancakes, 2 side salads and 2 entrees.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #77 - June 16th, 2018, 5:53 am
    Post #77 - June 16th, 2018, 5:53 am Post #77 - June 16th, 2018, 5:53 am
    Block Club Chicago feature about Podhalanka with quotes from Helena Madej, the history of the restaurant, and her potato pancake recipe.

    https://blockclubchicago.org/2018/06/15 ... to-itself/

    "Keeping The Polish In The Polish Triangle, Podhalanka Survives By Staying True To Itself"

    --
    edc
  • Post #78 - January 15th, 2019, 2:55 pm
    Post #78 - January 15th, 2019, 2:55 pm Post #78 - January 15th, 2019, 2:55 pm
    Ate recently at Podhalanka. Was not terribly impressed. Its a quirky, old school restaurant and the service was good by the lady that waited on us. The bread was standard, nothing to really hanker for, as sometimes you do when you go to a restaurant serving rye bread, you just can't stop eating it. You wonder where did they get this bread? The pierogies were just boiled, not crisped in a pan. I had breaded pork tenderloin or cutlet should I say and it was just okay. Not anything great like you can get at Czech Plaza or Riverside Restaurant. The mashed potatoes were off tasting like Hungry Jack. Potato pancakes were okay and my family enjoyed their soups. So all in all, its an ok place to go if you are in the neighborhood but there are much better options around if you enjoy Polish food.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare

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