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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Eating Around The World – In Dorchester: Polish Cuisine

Cafe+Polonia
Cafe Polonia

Located a couple hundred feet away from Andrew Station in South Boston, Café Polonia serves gut-busting portions, cultural idiosyncrasies, and has an authentic and homey atmosphere. 
Don’t let the name mislead you, this is a restaurant, not a coffeehouse. But with only a handful of tables, mock stone and mortar walls, wooden beams, and flat cushions and animal skins for seat cushions, it is like eating inside a quant Polish cottage.
They start you off with complimentary slices of rye bread, and to smear on it, butter, and home-made lard. The lard is fat reduced reduced from pork, containing tiny and crispy chunks and strands of the meat, as well as onions and black pepper.
The Polish Plate ($16), allows the sampling of various traditional Polish foods. It comes with a grilled kielbasa, cut butterfly style, Bigos (or Hunter’s Stew), which was acidic, made with cabbage and what tasted like beef. The dish also comes with stuffed cabbage, big leaves with rice and pork inside and smothered in gravy, and Pierogies (or Polish dumplings).
Potato Pancakes ($12) were four giant pancakes, made with potato and flour to bind them. The side is a choice of sour cream, apple sauce, or beef goulash ($2), a Polish stew with noodles. The pancakes are golden-brown. The dish would work well as an appetizer between multiple people.
The Boneless Porkchop ($14), described as the “traditional Polish dinner entrée,” is essentially a big ol’ deep-fried slab of pork. It comes with dill-sprinkled potatoes and sweet cabbage stew, which is like a sweet and meat-less version of the Bigos. The Blackcurrant Juice ($3) complemented this entrée well, especially the protein, with a flavor like grape juice but tarter.
For those who are less adventurous, Café Polonia’s menu contains a few American staples like Grilled Chicken Caeser Salad ($10)  and Chicken Tenders ($9).
With the address of 611 Dorchester Ave., Café Polonia is considered to be within The Polish Triangle of Dorchester. “[The name], it’s official,” said server Michael Hyhorwicz with a smile, referring to the 2008 official recognition of the region’s name by the city. Although the area isn’t as ethnically concentrated as it used to be, Hyhorwicz says that many immigrants still live there, and he often sees them open the door into Café Polonia, looking for classic Polish food.
Hyhorwicz says that hospitality is ingrained in Polish, as well as Eastern European culture, dating back to the Middle Ages, where one “experienced dishonor” when lacking it. He emphasized the opportunity for conversation that mealtime provides and the importance of this in his culture. About his native cuisine, he joked, “It’s not for those on a diet!” referring to the sausages, potatoes, and hearty comfort foods.
Café Polinia also boasts a list of Polish and Eastern European beers, alongside a list of red and white wines. If the prices deter you, the owners of Café Polonia also own the Baltic Deli and Café across the street. There, you fill find not only these alcoholic beverages available for affordable purchase and in bulk, but also a full market of Polish foods in colorful packaging on shelves, pre-made meals, and extensive selections of meats and cheeses, under glass and hanging.