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A Chef’s Home: A Review of Julek’s Polish Kitchen

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Julek’s Polish Kitchen. Credit: Nolan Kenmonth

Nestled comfortably within a small shopping center in Talent, Oregon is Julek’s Polish Kitchen, a restaurant that has arrived at the crossroads of generations of family recipes and a new sense of GMO-free ingredients.

The exterior is neat and non-intrusive, with a handful of outdoor tables and chairs perfect for summertime. Stepping inside, a small window stands opposite the entrance, allowing a peek into the kitchen to see the staff at work. The tables are clean black, with their settings wrapped neatly in red napkins. It is a homey, warm feeling—and, the owner, Bogusia Antczak, explains that she prefers to think about her place not so much as a restaurant, but as her home, a place where she can be comfortable, and where she can invite others in to share in its delights.  

The walls are adorned with art, photographs and eye-capturing tapestries. Dark, olive-green glass bottles hang at the end of lamps, cleverly used as lamp shades. I was greeted with a smile, and seated immediately. The atmosphere of the place gives one the sense that the owner and staff truly care about what they do, and it shows in their cooking as well.

As a newcomer to Polish cuisine, I came into this experience not knowing quite what to expect. The pierogi seemed like a good starting point, a stable of eastern European cuisine—a sort of dumpling stuffed with various fillings, such as potatoes, cheese, spinach or meat, or both.

I ordered their Hunter’s Sampler Plate, with a slice of chocolate cake for desert. The sampler plate included stew with bread base, my choice of a variety of Polish sausage, and three different pierogi, and a salad—a simple spinach salad dress with walnuts and cheese.

The stew, a blend of sauerkraut, kielbasa and seasonings with a bread base: tangy and satisfying! For the pierogi, I chose the seasoned chicken, potato and cheese, and the spinach and garlic varieties. They had a texture similar to ravioli, with distinct flavors each creating a pleasant variety. The tenderness of the chicken, the richness of the cheese and potatoes, and the fullness of the spinach and garlic made each bite a new experience in itself.  The sausage was its own world of flavors—savory and juicy down to the last bite. Finally, the chocolate cake slice arrived, much larger than I was expecting and drizzled with a tangy strawberry syrup. The firm and rich texture of the cake was softened and complemented by the strawberry, creating a sweet and savory desert that I found myself cleaning the plate to finish.

Like a cozy time-and-space machine, Julek’s was a quick trip to Poland and back; sampling different generations and cuisines, all within an easy trip to Talent, and all served with the warmest pleasantness.

Hand’s down, I recommend Julek’s!

 

Julek’s Polish Kitchen

4:30 – 9 pm, Tues. – Sat.

160 North Pacific Hwy. Suite #4, Talent

 

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