Sunday, April 3, 2011

Veselka- Ukrainian Diner

In the East Village, Veselka is a Ukranian diner, serving the neighborhood 24/7 since 1954.   We put it on the short list for our next NYC trip. Reviews praise the place, but damn the food. New Yorkers are such a whiney bunch of bitches. Fast to the point of brusque is how we like it.

So we walked in, and were shown to a table.  No snide, condescending "Reservations?", no show about finding one of the empty tables as if they were somehow invisible to all but the trained hostess eye.  Menus plopped on the table.  We studied it, taking a self taught lesson on Ukranian comfort food mixed with American diner fare.

Pierogies, latkes, matzo soup, blintz, beet/horseradish salad, and kasha.  Starting with the least, avoid kasha at all cost.  It is actually worse than you think it will be.  No seasoning.  The people who make this at home make it better.  Now that that is over with, the rest of was great.  The beet and horseradish salad was surprising, and deliciously balanced.  Four different pierogies were fried, and tasty.  We liked the sweet potato one best.  The latke tasted like those I make, that is to say, delicious, but was thick and fluffy.  Very good!  The matzo soup was rich, tasty and had chicken and vegetables, along with a big fluffy matzo ball.  But the blintz! How wonderful it was- perfect light crepe filled with a light cheese that was just the right texture.  This desert doubled the price of the meal, which was a total of $32.  Good value.

We passed on hamburgers, which are reputed to be fantastic, and look forward to coming back for them. We can count on Veselka being there, as it has, since the year I was born.  Veselka is Love!

We returned to Veselka.  The hamburger is well reviewed by many fans, so made a trip to be sure to sample it. What we found was a level of inconsistency in the food that was a bit off-putting.  The mazoh soup was different this time, much more fat on top, less vegetables, and a matzoh ball less light.  The blintz was not as good.  The beet/horseradish salad was bland.  The latke, thankfully was as good, though arrived cold.  The kielbasa burger was cooked as ordered, and was worth the trip- the addition of kielbasa to ground beef is genius!  Where I wish they put more effort was in the condiments- mustard and ketchup, and a leaf of lettuce are not worthy of this creation.  The pickled onions are a little start.  

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