You know how cartoon characters float to the source of a delicious aroma? That was me when I caught scent of the meal I recently enjoyed at Polska Kuchnia in Stanwood.
OK, maybe I wasn’t floating, but I was definitely smiling. The aromatic memory of that lunch is still strong in my mind.
Polska Kuchnia is the only traditional Polish restaurant in Snohomish County, its owners say. It opened in 2016.
For owners Sara and Wojtek Lisicki, the bistro is a realization of their vision to make authentic Polish cuisine for the masses. Their goals are to pay homage to original recipes from Poland, where Wojtek was born, and treat customers to a cultural experience.
I was a little skeptical beforehand, though I tried to keep an open mind. I knew nothing about Polish food, so I Googled pictures of the dishes on the menu. It helped me figure out what I wanted to order. Still I found the ingredients and the overall appearance of the food a bit unusual — to say nothing of the pronunciation of the Polish delicacies.
Here’s the thing: I don’t like sausage. But it happens to be a staple in Polish food. Turns out there’s plenty to eat beside sausage — although I’m now convinced it would have also tasted great.
I ordered the pierogi a la carte as my appetizer. These delicious fried dumplings come filled with beef and onion, or sauerkraut, mushroom and onion, or potato, onion and cheese. The dumplings are topped with bacon bits.
You can get one of each for $5. I could have easily eaten three of each kind.
“That’s what people usually say,” Sara told me after I’d finished them.
The potato, onion and cheese dumpling was my favorite because of how well it went with the bacon garnish.
My main dish was kotlet z drobiu ($15.95), a fried chicken breast infused with an herbal butter made with parsley, garlic and dill. The chicken is skewered, has a golden-brown crust, is topped with hints of citrus and served with a side of boiled potatoes and a salad of sauerkraut, onion, shredded apple and carrots.
I’d never tasted chicken flavored with so many herbs, and I was surprised by how much of a difference it made. The potatoes, topped with dill, were hearty and buttered to perfection.
For dessert I ordered the nalesniki na slodko ($3), a crepe filled with homemade farmers cheese and topped with powdered sugar and a choice of blueberries, cherries or strawberries. I chose the strawberry crepe, and it was one of the best I’ve ever had.
Sara regularly visits with customers to explain the recipes and the history behind Polish cuisine. She even helped me with the pronunciations.
Making Polish food is difficult and time-consuming, which may be why there aren’t more Polish restaurants around, Sara said.
She is proud of the fact that everything on the menu except for the bread and sauerkraut is made from scratch.
“I would say this is the best aspect in the whole business,” Sara said.
While the restaurant’s main menu offers only authentic Polish food, its specials explore other cuisines. For example, Polska Kuchnia is currently offering “poysters,” which are raw oysters wrapped in fried pierogi dough and topped with bacon.
Evan Thompson; 360-544-2999; email@example.com.
The Polish bistro is at 8620 271st St. NW, Stanwood.
Open 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Hours sometimes vary. Call ahead to double check.
Call 206-355-2893 or visit www.polskakuchniabistro.com for more information.