Are these the best cheese blintzes in North America? Oh, probably not, it's just been a while since anyone started a post with one of those overdramatic subject headers. I haven't eaten enough blintzes in enough of your blintz-heavy parts of the world to say. But they were quite good, better than the ones at Julia's Truckers Welcome a few weeks ago that Gary and VI conspired to keep Mrs. VI from ordering, better than the ones sitting getting hard in the Red Apple steam table, better than the ones my Mom makes at Christmas when she gets her German Mennonite heritage on. They were slightly orange-scented (Grand Marnier a la Julia Child's crepes? Probably not at these prices), filled with a nice sweet cheese, fluffy and delectable. My kids scarfed 'em with no problem, and Dad had no trouble helping.
But let me back up. If you read either of my posts yesterday you saw a recurrent theme-- the attempt to eat at a Polish restaurant I spotted on Elston, which turned out to be closed Monday. Today I sneakily chose a park suspiciously close to Elston for my kids to run around in while I was the cell-phone-talking business dad. Come lunchtime-- well heck, we're this close to Elston, might as well go try that Polish place, right?
Smak Tak is located on Elston just south of where it's absorbed into Milwaukee. (I have no idea what the name means, probably a kids' TV character from the Soviet era or something like that.) Inside it's pure European hunting lodge, both in the wood-paneled interior and the menu, which as it turned out tasted as close to a meal in Europe as anything I've had in Chicago in a while. (Though it says it's Polish, there are a surprising number of things identified as "Hungarian" on the menu, by the way.) Besides the blintzes, I ordered a pork cutlet, fried no more than it needed to be, accompanied by sweetish cold sauerkraut, real mashed potatoes with dill, a carrot salad and really good "homemade" pickles. All in all, very satisfying Polish food, not so heavy as to leave me regretting it now, and I will be interested to try some other items on a return visit.
Smak-Tak Polish Restaurant
5961 N. Elston Ave.