Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

Teresa's is my neighborhood diner, a very good diner that also serves Polish food, or a solid Polish restaurant that also serves American diner food, depending on how you think about it. Teresa's often comes up in discussions of good values in brunch, for good reason. They serve a few varieties of pancakes, and real maple syrup is available for people like me who abhor that corn syrup stuff. For a decadent treat, babka french toast is available. They also make decent omelettes (though I don't particularly like the Garden Omelette, mainly because I don't find that broccoli is a good ingredient for it or cooked well in it). Several of their soups are soothing and do not suffer from repeated ordering. I like their garlicky cold borscht in the summertime, their chicken soup made with large pieces of chicken, and their tripe soup, for example. Every weekday, they have lunch specials (soup or salad with bread/toast, main dish + 1 side, coffee/tea/soda). My preference is for their chicken stew, which comes in a red sauce made with sliced carrots and onions (no tomatoes). I usually get it with a side of either beets, cucumber salad (made with sour cream), or kasha. Also worthwhile are their pierogis, all types. Good sandwiches, too: Roast beef, meatloaf, etc. And they will make fresh-squeezed orange juice for you at any time.

I sometimes have trouble having an order of toast _without_ butter fulfilled (I want to put some of the toast in my soup and use much of the rest to sop up the sauce in the stew, and don't really like butter on bread, anyway), and service can be slow when things get really busy. But overall, I'm really glad I have Teresa's around my corner. And one bonus is that sections of the newspaper are piled up on a ledge in the back of the eating room, so that you can read while having breakfast, lunch, or dinner by yourself.

Do you like Teresa's? If so, what do you like best about the place?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've logged most of my Teresa's meals at the Brooklyn Heights branch. Because central Brooklyn Heights (Montague St.) is one of the city's bleakest culinary ghettos (as measured by the discrepancy between number of restaurants and number worth going to), Teresa's stands out as a decent option amidst miserable ones. The food is servicable, and the solid Polish offerings, including kielbasa, pierogis and potato pancakes, elevate it above the nearby diners. And it's cheap, which never hurts.

If I'm in the East Village, though, where it's easier to do better than "servicable," Teresa's is made somewhat obsolete by the Eastern European alternatives Veselka (for soups, kielbasa, casseroles, pierogis and dessert) and B&H Dairy (for challah, borscht, and vegetable soup).

But, Pan, having been to Teresa's about 30 times, I do get why it's appealing. It's comfortable and reliable (in the sense that it's never off-putting). Solid neighborhood joint.

And, there is one stand-out dish: the chicken soup. Terrific chicken soup. First thing I eat when I get a cold.

PS - It's a separate topic, but when I trash Brooklyn Heights, I'm talking specifically about Montague St. Atlantic Ave. has a bunch of good Middle-Eastern options, and Henry St. in the North Heights offers Henry's End, Noodle Pudding, Iron Chef and Fascati. But, Montague St. Wow. Possibly boasts the 4 worst Chinese places in the city, all in a single 3 block stretch.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Teresa's is our go-to place before Sunday matinees at The Pearl Theatre. The group, which used to include HWOE's sister and a friend of hers, is down to HWOE, me, and my Beloved Aunt Bette, who keeps kosher. We have never been disappointed in the spinach blintzes, any of the boiled pierogen (especially the spinach when they have them), or the humongous salads -- HWOE gets the one with vegs, boiled potatoes, and a WHOLE grilled kielbasa. :blink: Beloved Aunt Bette often gets that Garden Omelet: a classic of diner food. And the Sunday Brunch specials are great value, including a mediocre drink, but a cup of great soup and a good entree.

I am the one who sometimes experiments: the Grilled Chicken Sandwich was more than serviceable, and the Kishka was a revelation. I'm used to Jewish kishka, but the Polish version they serve is a highly seasoned blood-and-rice sausage (a little embarrassing to explain to Bette :blush: ) -- and with sides of kasha and cucumber salad, a great meal.

We used to complain to each other when they automatically stopped serving bread to the table, but to be honest, we don't really miss it, what with the big portions.

Service would probably be better if one of us spoke Polish, which seems to be the first -- and in some cases only -- language of the staff, none of whom seems to stay very long. But we're polite, and eventually get whatever we asked for.

We've been to the one in the Heights once, and the food was just as good and service just as, um . . . :biggrin:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to disagree with proponents of Veselka. Their soups are too salty and I generally find their food distinctly inferior to Teresa's, with an added bonus of rude or/and dismissive service. If I have to go there and I'm hungry, I'd probably get the raspberry blintzes, which are cheese blintzes in a kind of rounded shape with raspberry sauce.

I went to B&H once or twice and was underwhelmed; maybe it's time to go back.

A number of years ago, when Teresa's was "Closed for Renovations," I used to go to Stage Deli, just north of the theater where Stomp plays (its name has slipped my mind), and I found them fine and very cheap but not as good as Teresa's.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Suzanne, I think they'll bring the bread if you ask for it. I'm guessing they may have found that a lot of people didn't eat the bread when it was brought automatically.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love eating at Teresa's whenever I'm in New York - it always feels like coming home.

When my kids were babies, and you had to step over the broken needles and crack pipes in Tompkins Square to get to the swings, Teresa's was the favorite for pierogis and pancakes, which was perfect little kid food, and endless cups of black coffee for me.

When Veselka opened my MIL always insisted on going there, and denigrated my fondness for Teresa's as some romantic shiksa notion of what Polish food should be - what did I know?

I just liked the food, they were nice to my kids and the vibe was better.

Haven't been there in quite some time - I'm glad to know it's still a solid neighborhood place.

And I'm thinking I need some mushroom pierogis now!

We need to find courage, overcome

Inaction is a weapon of mass destruction

Link to post
Share on other sites

Pan, B&H is not reliable across the board.

The appeal is that, despite the occassional utter failure,

when it succeeds it hits much higher notes, for me,

than Teresa's. I've always had decent food at Teresa's. Never bad, never great.

I've had both bad and great at B&H. I'm more interested in the place

that triumphs in spite of missteps, than the place that plateaus in the middle.

I find that Veselka more strongly seasons their food (maybe I'm mistaking salt for flavor) than

Teresa's, which is what I respond favorably too in that comparison.

I find the service at Veselka and Teresa's to be pretty similar, although

it of course depends on the given waiter. Not to generalize, but, after eating at

upwards of 10 different Eastern European diners, there's a certain coldness

to the service that's a bit unpleasant. One gets the sense that food-service Poles and Russians

are uniformly brooding depressives. Maybe because they're not allowed to drink vodka on their shifts...

Link to post
Share on other sites
Teresa's is on A or 1st, just above Houston?

Nope, 1st Av. between 6th and 7th.

And in response to snausages2000: I usually sprinkle pepper on most of Teresa's food (except stuff like the tripe soup, which is pretty peppery already).

I prefer a lighter hand with the salt. I can always add some if necessary, but I can't subtract it if it's already there. I rarely find it necessary to add salt to New York restaurant food of any type except absolutely saltless Korean soup that customers are expected to season at will.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

Teresa's East Village location closed after 22 years of business on May, 31. I was unaware of its closing until I found out today. And saddest of all, I never had a chance to say goodbye. So consider this my goodbye to a dear friend:

On the Death of a Beloved Restaurant

I kept calling

But there was no answer

On September 12, 2001 the streets were closed, but you were open

Even during the transit strike, you served me

But no longer

No more of your soup, no orders of pierogis to take out

The chicken stew lunch special is unavailable

The luxuriant babka French toast, past

For all the times you delivered a quart of chicken soup like my father’s,

The times I read a newspaper in your living room,

All the people I met between your walls,

The sentimental painting of Warsaw,

And the time when you spilled water on my pants, too –

All are but a memory

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, to be honest, Teresa was never all that friendly with me, but that wasn't the point. The point was that this was honest comfort food around the corner from me. I could get a quart of real chicken soup delivered to my apartment when I was feeling sick. But I don't really have any occasion to go to the branch in Brooklyn. It's fairly distant from MetroTech Center, isn't it? (If not, I might go there now and then for old time's sake.) Anyway, though, I never thought of Teresa's as a destination restaurant, but as a very dependable neighborhood restaurant I was happy to have, and I gave them loads and loads of business for many years. I think I'll be spending some time at Ukranian East Village now.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tell her in person.  They're still open on Montegue St in Bklyn and she owns the building and liquor store next door so I dont think she's going anywhere.

I always considered it to be a second-rate Kiev, but Kiev is gone so.....
Link to post
Share on other sites

Kiev was never close to being as good as Teresa's, and in its last few years as a Ukranian restaurant, it was terrible! But the main point is that one after another, the cheap restaurants in the East Village are being forced out by skyrocketing rents. The place I miss most from yesteryear is the old Leshko's, where you could get a plate of good pierogies (arguably the best in the neighborhood) for $1.50, through the late 90s or so, I think. (My favorite discount hardware and sundries store on 2nd Av. was also priced out and nothing has yet moved in, showing that the landlord was greedy to the nth degree.)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 8 months later...
Tell her in person.  They're still open on Montegue St in Bklyn and she owns the building and liquor store next door so I dont think she's going anywhere.

I did recently go to the Brooklyn Heights location three times, and did say Hi to Teresa, who seemed happy to see me. So far, I think that that location is at least as good as, if not better than the former East Village location.

By the way, I have gone to Ukrainian East Village a good deal in the last few months, and it's pretty good, but more expensive than Teresa's and not as good as Teresa's.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I second Pan's opinion of the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant.

Teresa's used to have the best cheese blintzes of any of the East Village eastern European joints (I think at one point I had tried 'em all). Here's hoping they live on at the Brooklyn Heights location!

I hadn't been to Teresa's for several years, mostly because at some point I decided that, if I was going to make the trek all the way down to the East Village, I preferred the food at Christine's: great soups, especially the white borscht, and a kick-ass chicken cutlet that you can hear them pounding by hand in the kitchen minutes after oredering it.

(I still miss Leshko's, too.)

My restaurant blog: Mahlzeit!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric, thanks for recommending Christine's. I'll walk up there and try it.

I have to admit, I always found Teresa's blintzes too oily. I still haven't found any blintzes as satisfying as the ones I used to eat in the dimly-remembered milchiks restaurants of my childhood (probably Ratners, I imagine).

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...