N/W Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)
Any excuse that I can make for eating Slovak comfort food at Koliba, I make. Yesterday's excuse was getting together with friends, Ivona and Edita and showing them a piece of Slovakia in Queens. It was only a short month ago that I went out with this fun duo and the three of us devoured huge plates of dumplings in Brooklyn's Slovak restaurant, Milan's.
My friends were happy with Koliba's food and I was glad. We were a lot fuller this time because we got more food--and it was a bit heavier than at Milan's. It's true that our tummies suffered the next day but in the end it was so worth it. Good Slovak food and company can't be beat.
Here are some of the dishes that we enjoyed:
Fried Dumplings with Eggs (Vyprazany Knedlik s Vajickom): This dish was completely new to me and we got it as a starter. It looked like scrambled eggs with bacon except that the "bacon" was really fried dumplings. It was awesome and also really filling. The fried dumplings had a sweet aftertaste and reminded me of the Italian pastry, zeppole. What made the dish hearty were the eggs and the cold salty toppings of pickles and roasted red peppers. Although I loved it, I don't think I'd get it next time because of the large portions of their main courses.
Beef with Cream Sauce (Svieckova): This was my dish and while I've had it elsewhere, I haven't yet experienced it at Koliba. It consisted of tender beef in a meaty cream sauce, topped with fresh cranberries. Although the cranberries were an American aberration, they provided a nice sweet finish to the meat. The beef also came with a side of bread dumplings or knedlik, which I adore--its spongy consistency is a delight and when dipped into the cream sauce, the deliciousness is indescribable.
Fried Cauliflower (Vyprazany Karfiol): I was having a hard time deciding between the beef and the cauliflower--so when Ivona decided to get the latter, I was glad because I could try both. My mom makes a mean fried cauliflower and my standards for it are high. Koliba's version didn't disappoint and the cauliflower was fresh on the inside and super crispy on the outside. Once dipped into the tangy tartar sauce, the flavor of this fried treat was at its best. The portion was humongous and I got to sample 2 very large pieces from Ivona's plate.
Fried Cheese Stuffed with Ham (Vyprazany Syr so Sunkou): Another Slovak classic, this is so much more than your typical fried mozzarella. Edita had her eye on it and devoured it with gusto. I got to sample it and it was divine--the cheese was super stringy and the fried crust was thick and again, really crispy. I didn't taste the ham in the cheese but assumed it was there. Edita didn't have any complaints except later on that night--fried food tends to be heavy so eat this large portion of fried goodness with caution.
The service was good, as usual. But like I mentioned, I think that you have a serious advantage if you speak Slovak. Our waitress was friendly and we talked to her about our home country. She revealed that she was from a small rural village, which all three of us have never heard of. For a large country like the U.S. this might not seem weird, but given that Slovakia is so teensy, we were surprised to learn about a new place.
The prices here are very reasonable. Our dinner which included an appetizer, three entrees and three generous glasses of Czech beer cost us $66 (excluding tax and tip).