The Rosie Report: Tatra Haus

For a taste of true Polish cuisine, head to this Wallington establishment.

Grilled pork chop with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. Photo by Lowell Saferstein

Upon entering Tatra Haus, named for the mountains that separate Poland and Slovakia, you are transported to a Polish highland chalet. Polish music, traditional ornate hand carved wood furniture, folk art and waitresses wearing shirts embroidered with flowers reminiscent of colorful regional costumes, all add to the ambiance. The menu is written in Polish, with English translations, and has some familiar items such as borsch, pierogi and potato pancakes, as well as dishes we had never eaten including tripe soup; rye bread with pork lard spread; pickles and herring in oil with onions and pork knuckle marinated in beer.

Highlander cabbage soup with potatoes and smoked pork; sour soup with sausage and egg served in sourdough bread; and borsch with spicy dumplings were a few of the soups offered. However it was a warm day and we opted to start with the slightly spicy boiled highlander pierogi (also offered fried) stuffed with pepper jack, cheddar, Muenster cheese and potato. The heat was offset by sour cream.

Beef goulash was sandwiched between two thick potato pancakes topped with a salty sheep cheese. An invigorating Hunter’s stew made with shredded pork and sauerkraut is recommended and came with scrumptious grilled kielbasa and bread. The large but overcooked pork chop was accompanied with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

Traditional Polish folk art and clothing on display at Tatra Haus. Photo by Lowell Saferstein
Goulah and potato pancakes. Photo by Lowell Saferstein
Hunter stew with kielbasa. Photo by Lowell Saferstein
Beet salad; sauerkraut with carrots salad; and fried cabbage. Photo by Lowell Saferstein

Although we were unable to finish any of the hearty dishes, we do recommend ordering three sides ($5). The “this makes me feel healthy” beet salad was our favorite; the thinly sliced sauerkraut with carrots was similar to a vinegar based coleslaw; and the fried cabbage was tasty, but we realized at this point that we were overdosing on cabbage.

Trying to pronounce the names of the drinks listed on the bar menu was an adventure. For example: hot tea with fruit brandy made from damson plums (goralska herbata); a cocktail (slotkie zycie) made from Wyborowa Polish vodka, Chambord, ginger ale and a raspberry garnish served in a honey rimmed martini glass; and a drink made from Zubrowka vodka with apple juice called szarlotka. Polish beers such as Zywiec or Okocim are available and our waitress graciously brought a small sample of one of them in a mini glass mug for our friend to try before ordering it.

According to our waitress, only one dessert was made in house; Szarlotka z lodami waniliowymi, aka apple cake, and yes I spelled that correctly. Served with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, this light cake with a bland apple filling unfortunately was not even close to our favorite apple dessert. The other desserts, presented on a tray were crème brulee; ice cream with berry sauce or chocolate syrup; chocolate lava cake; Polish Napoleon cake; mixed berry tart; and waffles with fruit and whipped cream.

For authentic Polish dishes, plan on making a pilgrimage to Tatra Haus.

And just a heads up—the bill is in Polish. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday from noon.

Tatra Haus, 115 Main Avenue, Wallington 201-393-2400

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