Last week I took advantage of the kids’ stay at sleepaway camp to pop up to New York for a quick visit. I hit four museums in four days, saw two movies, wandered, ate well, visited with friends and family. It was great!
One such evening combined all of the friends/family/eating well elements when I had dinner in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with my childhood friend Justyna and my cousin Maya. We met at an old-school Polish restaurant called Królewskie Jadło (A Knight’s Feast). Greenpoint has been the center of Polish immigrant life in NYC for decades.
As soon as I emerged from the subway station I immediately noticed the hallmarks of gentrification: coffee bars, ramen shops, and lots of skinny jeans and tattoos. I also passed this storefront, which sums up Greenpoint in one photo:
Even though I had never visited Greenpoint before, I could clearly see the changes in the last few years. While many businesses still had Polish names on the signs, I saw at least as many with For Rent signs. Where did those business owners go? I can only guess. Perhaps retirement, or to the scattered Polish diaspora in the suburbs, or even back to Poland.
So back to the restaurant! I arrived to find Justyna and Maya already chatting away over glasses of wine, and I quickly joined in. Justyna lives in the neighborhood and knows the restaurant, so we put her in charge of ordering.
Temperatures in the 90s (32 degrees C) don’t typically leave me craving gut-busting Polish food, but I rallied. I tackled the placek wegierski (Hungarian pancake), a potato pancake filled with goulash. I arrived hungry and did my best, yet I managed to eat less than half. We also enjoyed kopitka (dumplings sort of like gnocchi), cold beet soup, and szmalec, a spread made from lard and pork.
Delicious! If you’re ever in Greenpoint–go!