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Smak-Tak - great Polish in Jefferson Park

Smak-Tak - great Polish in Jefferson Park
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  • Post #151 - December 5th, 2011, 10:23 am
    Post #151 - December 5th, 2011, 10:23 am Post #151 - December 5th, 2011, 10:23 am
    Pan-seared pierogi was the way my grandmother always did them. Our favorite Fall treat was her plum pierogies, seared in butter, finished off with a dusting of sugar. The race was to see how many plum pits you could get on your plate!
  • Post #152 - December 5th, 2011, 11:09 am
    Post #152 - December 5th, 2011, 11:09 am Post #152 - December 5th, 2011, 11:09 am
    Frying pierogi after boiling them is common, but so is just boiling them. I was just responding to the claim that not frying/searing them is "crazy talk." I generally prefer my pierogi not fried.
  • Post #153 - December 5th, 2011, 12:32 pm
    Post #153 - December 5th, 2011, 12:32 pm Post #153 - December 5th, 2011, 12:32 pm
    I grew up eating pierogies and they were never pan-seared. And they were probably "drowing" in butter too. My experiences in Poland are similar to Binko's -- I think Smak-Tak's version are probably as close to that as you'll come anywhere in Chicago. My hunch is that pan-searing was/is an accommodation for re-heating pierogies that were pre-boiled. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I don't think it's standard. My grandmother made excellent fresh pierogies for the holidays, so after the dough was made and filled, they were stored on a sheet pan for a couple of hours, then just before dinner, they were boiled and then plated with browned butter -- no pan-searing.
  • Post #154 - December 5th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    Post #154 - December 5th, 2011, 12:38 pm Post #154 - December 5th, 2011, 12:38 pm
    I don't eat at Polish restaurants very often but I cannot think of any Polish place in Chicago that serves pan-seared pierogies. Yes, I've had them served in that style as 'homage' dishes at places that aren't necessarily Polish, though, including Mana Food Bar and Quince earlier this year.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #155 - December 5th, 2011, 12:55 pm
    Post #155 - December 5th, 2011, 12:55 pm Post #155 - December 5th, 2011, 12:55 pm
    I'm not Polish but I married into a Polish family. My experiences has been the fruit filled pierogies were boiled, then pan seared in butter and sprinkled with sugar. The cheese, sauerkraut, meat, were just boiled and served with a butter sauce.
  • Post #156 - December 5th, 2011, 1:14 pm
    Post #156 - December 5th, 2011, 1:14 pm Post #156 - December 5th, 2011, 1:14 pm
    I'd bet Smak Tak would fry em up if that's what you wanted. Then again, maybe they take enough pride in their hand-made dumplings that they'd balk. Obviously, the similar items gnocchi and spaetzle go both ways too.
  • Post #157 - December 5th, 2011, 3:09 pm
    Post #157 - December 5th, 2011, 3:09 pm Post #157 - December 5th, 2011, 3:09 pm
    PreFlopRaise13 wrote:I'm not Polish but I married into a Polish family. My experiences has been the fruit filled pierogies were boiled, then pan seared in butter and sprinkled with sugar. The cheese, sauerkraut, meat, were just boiled and served with a butter sauce.


    In our family, we would just boil them and serve them with sour cream with white sugar beaten into it. It's never occurred to me to fry the fruit pierogi. I'll have to give that a shot next time.
  • Post #158 - December 9th, 2011, 9:15 am
    Post #158 - December 9th, 2011, 9:15 am Post #158 - December 9th, 2011, 9:15 am
    ChitownJackson wrote:Aside from the food, not a single diner came in for the duration of the meal. Nobody. And the server said maybe four words to us the whole time. I also think it's bullshit when a full service casual restaurant makes you spring for bottled water in addition to your sodas/drinks like this place did.


    When I ask for water, the server always gives me a full pitcher of tap water. Perhaps there was a miscommunication.
  • Post #159 - December 9th, 2011, 10:26 am
    Post #159 - December 9th, 2011, 10:26 am Post #159 - December 9th, 2011, 10:26 am
    Darren72 wrote:
    ChitownJackson wrote:Aside from the food, not a single diner came in for the duration of the meal. Nobody. And the server said maybe four words to us the whole time. I also think it's bullshit when a full service casual restaurant makes you spring for bottled water in addition to your sodas/drinks like this place did.


    When I ask for water, the server always gives me a full pitcher of tap water. Perhaps there was a miscommunication.

    Yeah, we always get the pitcher of tap, whether we ask for one or not.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #160 - December 12th, 2011, 6:52 pm
    Post #160 - December 12th, 2011, 6:52 pm Post #160 - December 12th, 2011, 6:52 pm
    Went there a couple of days ago with a friend who was at the DMV. First time for him, maybe third for me.

    It was outstanding. Simply stuck with non fruit pierogi for me. He had the Hunters stew or whatever it's called. Superb. We both liked it.


    Oh, plus there was a table of diners finishing up when I left.
  • Post #161 - January 7th, 2012, 11:09 pm
    Post #161 - January 7th, 2012, 11:09 pm Post #161 - January 7th, 2012, 11:09 pm
    Hi,

    Stuffed cabbage on the specials menu today was not the regular stuffed cabbage offering. It was stuffed with mushrooms and rice with a minced mushroom sauce. It is a holdover from Christmas.

    I ordered pierogi only and had only a wee taste, I will admit to a bit of order envy.

    Get it while you can.

    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 #162 - January 8th, 2012, 10:58 am
    Post #162 - January 8th, 2012, 10:58 am Post #162 - January 8th, 2012, 10:58 am
    I prefer my pierogis pan seared, but really liked Smak Tak's version when I had them. I don't remember them drowning in butter, but in butter, for sure.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
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  • Post #163 - January 8th, 2012, 2:01 pm
    Post #163 - January 8th, 2012, 2:01 pm Post #163 - January 8th, 2012, 2:01 pm
    Typically i like pierogies pan seared, but the boiled ones at smak tak with butter and sour cream are deeeeelicious.
  • Post #164 - January 9th, 2012, 7:20 am
    Post #164 - January 9th, 2012, 7:20 am Post #164 - January 9th, 2012, 7:20 am
    We visited Saturday night with friends from out of town, both of whom grew up in Polish households. They had the bigos and the pierogis and both were absolutely thrilled with the food. I didn't see that the latter were swimming in butter but it would certainly not be an overstatement to say that butter was, uh, liberally used. The only dud of the evening, somewhat surprisingly, was the Lovely Dining Companion's stuffed cabbage, described by Cathy2, above. It tasted fine but it's not a typical (or perhaps I should say, an "everyday" version of) stuffed cabbage. I had the Hungarian potato pancake. :D Nuff said!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #165 - January 10th, 2012, 3:50 pm
    Post #165 - January 10th, 2012, 3:50 pm Post #165 - January 10th, 2012, 3:50 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Stuffed cabbage on the specials menu today was not the regular stuffed cabbage offering. It was stuffed with mushrooms and rice with a minced mushroom sauce. It is a holdover from Christmas.

    Gypsy Boy wrote:The only dud of the evening, somewhat surprisingly, was the Lovely Dining Companion's stuffed cabbage, described by Cathy2, above. It tasted fine but it's not a typical (or perhaps I should say, an "everyday" version of) stuffed cabbage.

    Maybe not the most photogenic dish but I liked the stuffed cabbage with mushrooms quite a bit (I'm not the biggest fan of the sauce on their regular cabbage rolls).

    Image

    I think Smak-Tak does a great job with fungi, from sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi, to mushroom-stuffed uszka . . .

    Image

    . . . to mushroom soup.

    Image

    Smak-Tak!
    "It's Just Delicious"
    5961 N Elston Av
    Chicago
    773 763-1123
  • Post #166 - January 11th, 2012, 8:34 am
    Post #166 - January 11th, 2012, 8:34 am Post #166 - January 11th, 2012, 8:34 am
    Rene G wrote:Maybe not the most photogenic dish but I liked the stuffed cabbage with mushrooms quite a bit (I'm not the biggest fan of the sauce on their regular cabbage rolls).


    Let me clarify: LDC didn't care for it and, after discussing it a bit, we concluded it was because she was expecting a much more "standard" (i.e. "ordinary" or everyday) version. I tasted it and found it delicious--and I agree with you about their great job in general. But I would agree with her that this is not a usual presentation of stuffed cabbage. Ya gotta REALLY love mushrooms to love this version, but if you do, it's terrific.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #167 - January 11th, 2012, 9:09 am
    Post #167 - January 11th, 2012, 9:09 am Post #167 - January 11th, 2012, 9:09 am
    HI,

    From reading the menu the other day, it was really not clear initially this was a seasonal stuffed cabbage offering. Rene G observed it cost 50 cents more to have the special rather than ordering separately a soup and cabbage rolls entree. Only when we inquired what was special about the cabbage rolls did we learn it was stuffed with mushrooms and rice with a white sauce. It was bonus this white sauce was loaded with minced mushrooms.

    I will imagine Lovely Dining Companion was simply surprised not to find the conventional cabbage rolls. If you are expecting one thing and get another, it isn't always pleasant.

    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 #168 - January 30th, 2012, 1:25 pm
    Post #168 - January 30th, 2012, 1:25 pm Post #168 - January 30th, 2012, 1:25 pm
    Cathy2 wrote: From reading the menu the other day, it was really not clear initially this was a seasonal stuffed cabbage offering. Rene G observed it cost 50 cents more to have the special rather than ordering separately a soup and cabbage rolls entree. Only when we inquired what was special about the cabbage rolls did we learn it was stuffed with mushrooms and rice with a white sauce. It was bonus this white sauce was loaded with minced mushrooms.


    I inquired about this yesterday, and the mushroom version is no longer available -- it was seasonal for the weeks around Christmas.
    The regular version is back as the only version available.

    Yesterday I had the only dish that I would recommend against, among the many superb dishes on the menu. I hadn't been feeling well and wanted something on the low-fat side, but the "whitefish" (tilapia) ended up being deep-fried with a heavy breading, and wasn't particularly fresh. Should have asked about the preparation before ordering.

    Glad to see it was busy on a Sunday afternoon.
  • Post #169 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:17 pm
    Post #169 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:17 pm Post #169 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:17 pm
    I had to put something mindless and non-distracting on in the background while working on something for a client and...ok, I'll just say it--the Bachelorette is on and one of the home town dates is going down at our very own GNR, Smak Tak. I just saw our plaque on the wall in the background. We've really made the big time now :twisted:
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #170 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
    Post #170 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:19 pm Post #170 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:19 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:I had to put something mindless and non-distracting on in the background while working on something for a client and...ok, I'll just say it--the Bachelorette is on and one of the home town dates is going down at our very own GNR, Smak Tak. I just saw our plaque on the wall in the background. We've really made the big time now :twisted:

    LMAO! Classic. Did anyone mention why they chose it?

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #171 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:23 pm
    Post #171 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:23 pm Post #171 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:23 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:I had to put something mindless and non-distracting on in the background while working on something for a client and...ok, I'll just say it--the Bachelorette is on and one of the home town dates is going down at our very own GNR, Smak Tak. I just saw our plaque on the wall in the background. We've really made the big time now :twisted:

    LMAO! Classic. Did anyone mention why they chose it?

    =R=


    I haven't watched a single episode this season I SWEAR--I just happened to turn it on and he was describing his family and said he's Polish--like 1st generation born here, mom and dad from the old country Polish. He wanted her to experience some of his culture before meeting them. I think. I was too busy looking for our plaque to pay much attention to the inanity that was their attempt at conversation. It's truly revolting TV. And yet...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #172 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:49 pm
    Post #172 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:49 pm Post #172 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:49 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:..-the Bachelorette is on and one of the home town dates is going down at our very own GNR, Smak Tak.
    Wait...
    What?
  • Post #173 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:55 pm
    Post #173 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:55 pm Post #173 - July 2nd, 2012, 6:55 pm
    BrendanR wrote:
    boudreaulicious wrote:..-the Bachelorette is on and one of the home town dates is going down at our very own GNR, Smak Tak.
    Wait...
    What?


    If you don't know, you don't want to know. Trust me.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #174 - July 2nd, 2012, 8:05 pm
    Post #174 - July 2nd, 2012, 8:05 pm Post #174 - July 2nd, 2012, 8:05 pm
    Sadly, Smak Tak boy got the boot. But then, one of the remaining suitors' family served up a platter of steamed armadillo*--how could he compete with that!!



    *It was a joke--bachelor humor I guess...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #175 - November 10th, 2012, 4:20 pm
    Post #175 - November 10th, 2012, 4:20 pm Post #175 - November 10th, 2012, 4:20 pm
    Hi,

    I tried to call Smak Tak yesterday to make reservations for lunch today. Nobody answered the phone or the e-mail I sent. A friend reached there before I did to find it closed. She did not see any additional signs beyond a 'closed' sign.

    I called just now without success.

    In the short term, I suggest calling in advance before going.

    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 #176 - November 10th, 2012, 5:54 pm
    Post #176 - November 10th, 2012, 5:54 pm Post #176 - November 10th, 2012, 5:54 pm
    That's really odd, considering that they were featured on Check Please this week.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #177 - November 10th, 2012, 6:26 pm
    Post #177 - November 10th, 2012, 6:26 pm Post #177 - November 10th, 2012, 6:26 pm
    stevez wrote:That's really odd, considering that they were featured on Check Please this week.

    That must have been an old episode . . . just hoping this is very temporary.
  • Post #178 - November 10th, 2012, 10:38 pm
    Post #178 - November 10th, 2012, 10:38 pm Post #178 - November 10th, 2012, 10:38 pm
    I think both Brad and Steve are misinformed re: check please (although perhaps Steve saw the episode before the check please site said the episode would premier)...the episode will premier Friday, November 16th. Hopefully Smak Tak was just closed for lunch yesterday. I really like the restaurant and it is a restaurant that I learned about solely because of LTH.
  • Post #179 - November 11th, 2012, 12:42 am
    Post #179 - November 11th, 2012, 12:42 am Post #179 - November 11th, 2012, 12:42 am
    milz50 wrote:I think both Brad and Steve are misinformed

    Well, this won't be the first or last time for me . . . :)

    And I see you're right, debuting the 16th. Hoping they'll be open for it.
  • Post #180 - November 11th, 2012, 7:49 am
    Post #180 - November 11th, 2012, 7:49 am Post #180 - November 11th, 2012, 7:49 am
    milz50 wrote:I think both Brad and Steve are misinformed re: check please (although perhaps Steve saw the episode before the check please site said the episode would premier)...the episode will premier Friday, November 16th. Hopefully Smak Tak was just closed for lunch yesterday. I really like the restaurant and it is a restaurant that I learned about solely because of LTH.


    It might have been a teaser for that episode that I saw, but it was definitely Smak Tak being featured on Check Please that I saw yesterday.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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