We had an out of town friend visit a couple weekends ago, and we continued on the tour around town we started giving him when he was in town for our wedding 5 months ago. The day he was heading to the train station we had a nice afternoon hanging around Brown's. Then we headed to Muza for dinner. It has been previously established that I enjoy restaurants that feel like some relative's living room. I grew up eating peirogies, but just the frozen Mrs. T's variety - not anything this flavorful or fresh tasting.
We started out with some creamy carrots (in a tasty sauce) and some potato salad (the chopped up pickles and dill liven it up). Previously, I have had the pickle soup - which sounded just weird enough to be irresistible, and was so interesting I felt compelled to research pickle soup recipes once I got home. I have also previously had the beef stroganoff, which was way more better than the beef stroganoff of my childhood (I think that was just beef mixed with cream of mushroom soup and served over egg noodles). This time I had the pierogies (delicious), our friend had the "Polish Sampler", and I think my husband had the kielbasa and potato pancakes. This enabled all of us to try a little of each other's, and everything was very tasty - perfect for a brisk, lazy Saturday afternoon.
Two other great things about this place besides simple and delicious food: the Polish beer is great. Apparently the father of the waitress drives all the way to NYC because distributors up here don't carry Zywiec. Go ahead, ask the waitress how to pronounce it - you won't be able to say it, and she will try and teach you how over and over again. The porter especially is fabulous, but the lager is good too. The other thing is the people who work there. Ok, ok I do realize that liking your waitress is a little bit like liking domestic workers in The Help, in that they are paid to make you happy, but I love these people. The mom is in the back frying up your potato pancakes, apologizing for how long it takes (when it is totally fine) and asking you how it was when you leave. The daughter runs around filling water glasses, teaching customers words in Polish, and generally being just really sweet and sincere. The dad seems gruff and stocks things and doesn't say much. It feels authentic to me. It is exactly on my drive home, and sometimes on a weeknight I stop in there for take out, talk to the waitress for a few minutes, page through the Troy Record, and leave with a cheap, tasty dinner from a place I feel good about supporting.
It seemed like last winter they had a Polish market on the corner, but I was never able to find it open. I hope they do give it another try, as I would like to bring quantities of pickle soup home (although I am happy to just stop in for take out too).