Sunday, September 26, 2010

Karczma Mlyn - Bryndza, Halusky, Smoked Sausage and All that Good Stuff

Karczma Mlyn - Hlavna 82, Kosice Slovakia
055 622 05 47

Even though I'm happy to be back from my trip to Slovakia, I'll certainly miss the delicious food that has a special place in my heart, as it's what I grew up eating.  I wanted to bring you a little taste of that here, and being that we have 2 Slovak & Czech  restaurants in Astoria (Koliba and Zlata Praha), you can actually experience these specialties right here in our hood.

Karczma Mlyn is an authentic Slovak Restaurant recommended by my friend Ivanka. Not only did it deliver tasty Slovak specialties that I so craved, it also surpassed my expectations with respect to ambiance.

Located off the main street (Hlavna Ulica) in Kosice's town square, Karczma Mlyn is easy to find, but only if you're looking for it.  Since the signange is displayed visibly, it's not easy to miss but to enter the restaurant, you must walk through a short alley and then go down a winding staircase which leads to the actual restaurant, located in the cellar of an old building.

Once you get there, it feels as if you've entered a secret world where magical creatures (like hobbits) reside.  All furniture is rustic and handmade, with wooden tables and stools that look like they came out of a country cottage.  The ceilings are on the low side, which totally works and there are a couple of crescent shaped alcoves that lead to other equally charming dining rooms.  If you appreciate wood craftsmanship, you're going to love it here.

Mlyn's menu reflects all the typical Slovak peasant dishes that we came for, including the usual suspects such as fried cheese, halusky (spaetzle), sausage, pirohy, roasted pig, roasted goose and much more.  We indulged in the following:

Fried Olomouc Cheese - Never having tried this Czech cheese before, known for its strong scent and low fat content, Peter and I decided to go for it.  What also drew us to it was its egg flour coating, which sounded decadent and yummy.  I loved its taste and texture - the former was strong and earthy and its aroma was like a stinky cheese (OK by me, but if you're not a stinky cheese lover, you might want to stay away) and the latter was smooth and stringy.  It was nice to pair this dense cheese with fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers which were served on the side.

Grandma Plate - Peter spotted this option, which provided all the goodies we were looking for on 1 plate, including halusky with bryndza cheese as well as meat and cheese pirohy.  We ended up splitting it because it was large and contained very filling food. 

The halusky were hands-down my favorite. They were the perfect size (maybe a half inch long) and were dripping with melted bryndza that was spectacularly creamy and tangy.  The decadence didn't stop there, as the halusky were also topped with smoked sausage that actually tasted better than bacon.

Two types of pirohy that were found on each side of the halusky didn't disappoint either.  The meat pirohy had sauerkraut and onions on top, which reminded me of the ones at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden.  And the other bryndza variety was simpler - topped with fried onions, it didn't need anything else.

To wash all this cheesy goodness down, we ordered giant glasses of Staropramen beer (with foam on top), which was the perfect way to complete this wonderful meal.

Service and Cost:
As is customary in Europe, the service at Mlyn was good but unobtrusive.  The waitstaff really lets you take your time and decide when you'd like to pay the check.  They won't bring the check to you unless you ask, which can be nice if you're not in a hurry but slightly annoying if you've got someplace to be. Not the case here and we enjoyed ourselves at a leisurely pace.

Costs are very inexpensive and for all the food I mention above (including drinks) we paid a total of 13 Euro, which is roughly $16.  A steal? I think SO!

3 Mmmms

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