The South Sound restaurant scene has the market cornered on teriyaki and Thai and it seems you can’t turn in a circle without finding a new Vietnamese restaurant. But when it comes to Polish or Russian food, it might be easier to have someone’s grandma do the cooking because those restaurants are in short supply
In recent months, I’ve heard from several readers in search of two European dishes: cabbage rolls, which are cabbage leaves stuffed with rice and ground meat then served warm with a tomato sauce; and piroshky, fried puffs of yeasty dough filled with meat, cabbage, or a combination of the two, plus cheese or potato and other savory and sweet stuffings.
Well, readers, I went on the prowl and after some digging, I found cabbage rolls and piroshky for dine-in or take-out at a Federal Way deli, a Tacoma deli and Tacoma restaurant. Read on.
Your turn: Know of a restaurant that serves Polish, Russian, Ukrainian or even German or Hungarian food? Please go to blog.thenewstribune.com/tntdiner and share your tip with readers.
BRUNO’S EUROPEAN RESTAURANT
Krystyna and Bruno Tomaszewska made their mark in the South Sound food scene selling cabbage rolls at the Tacoma Farmers Market. Since opening their restaurant, Bruno’s European Restaurant in Lakewood, last year, then relocating to Parkland in late February, the Tomaszewskas no longer have time to sell cabbage rolls at the market. However, diners can order the cabbage rolls at the full-service restaurant that recently acquired a liquor permit and opened an outdoor beer garden where they serve an assortment of difficult-to-find European beer and wine.
Cabbage rolls at Bruno’s are served as a full meal with pureed potatoes. The rolls are plump and full of mildly seasoned rice and ground pork butt. It’s the piquant tomato sauce I find so appealing: the tomato sauce is sharp and sweet, with a delicious richness from a splash of cream.
The rest of Bruno’s menu is a combination of German, Polish and other European specialties. Their house favorite is schnitzel, but there also is goulash, German potato salad, spatzle noodles, potato dumplings, red cabbage salad and pierogi (dumplings stuffed with meat or potatoes).
EURO FOOD AND DELI
Euro Food and Deli is a combination grocery store and deli in Federal Way with a wide selection of deli meats and cheeses.
Want baked goods? They’ve got fresh bread and pastries, too. And the grocery store has a broad selection – more than a dozen kinds – of prepared frozen pierogi.
Want Russian soda pop? They’ve got that, too. How about canned fish? Smoked meat? Preserved fish? They’ve got all of that.
The ready-to-eat case includes a variety of take-out foods. For piroshky (which they spell pirozhki), diners will find puffy ovals of yeasty, fried dough stuffed with cabbage or ground pork and rice. The deli also offers fried turnovers called cheburek, (piroshky and cheburek are priced from 99 cents to $1.59 each).
Cabbage rolls are small and tightly rolled with a ground-meat-and-rice mixture inside and topped with a puckery tomato sauce (priced $4.95 a pound, about four rolls per pound). Call ahead to find out what’s fresh and available that day because on three different visits, the availability of prepared foods varied. On one Sunday visit, they did not offer piroshky.
When I think Friendly Foods, I think cake. The bakery case at this Tacoma grocery store and deli is full of European-style cakes, tarts and other pastries that look as delicious as they taste. Outside of the German Pastry Shop in Lakewood, I can’t think of a bakery with a more interesting cake selection.
But look to the right of the bakery case and diners will find a self-service piroshky bar with most days offering four different kinds of fried rolls: potato, cheese, rice and pork, and cabbage ($1.39-$1.59 each). The case is self service, with brown paper bags and tongs for packaging the stuffed and yeasty rolls that are fried and held warm in the piroshky case.
The store also sells various kinds of European candy, soda, meats, cheeses, fresh-baked bread and an assortment of frozen foods and fresh produce.
Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270, Sue.email@example.com