Restaurant Review: Revisiting Karczma

A note about my restaurant reviews: New York City counts many Eastern European restaurants scattered across the five boroughs, most of them ignored by restaurant critics and diners alike. I intend to visit as many as I can and report!

I reviewed Karczma in Greenpoint nearly a year and a half ago, but two more recent visits prompted an update. Not that the menu has changed — I think it’s totally identical — but I feel that many of the dishes that were already good picks tasted slightly better than I remembered.

The blood sausage, for example, has been unanimously praised by our party. Properly grilled and served warmed, the mix of buckwheat, blood and pork fat tasted well-balanced. Similarly, the thick slabs of hearty bacon were the perfect accompaniment to the vodka, the meat pierogis were airy and flavorful, and the sauerkraut in the bigos made me forget I don’t like sauerkraut all that much.

I also got to try more dishes. The steak tartare was rather good, though it would benefit from being ground from a better cut of meat. The peasant-style lard, similar to French rillettes but made almost exclusively of pork fat, was another favorite with the vodka drinkers. The tripe soup was nice, neither too strong nor too bland. The cooks even managed to keep the pork and chicken kebabs pretty moist.

If you’re in a “festive” mood, you can order bottles of Polish vodka at the decent prices of $65 for 750 ml, or $80 for 1 l.

My overall appreciation of the restaurant remains the same (“the food was authentic and rather good, for a very reasonable price”), but I’d like to modify the conclusion as follows:

Picks: grilled blood sausage, meat pierogis, white borsch, plate of Polish specialties, karkowka
Food: 7/10