U Kucharzy, I understand, means something along the lines of ‘eat with the chefs’. Well, that concept didn’t fall far from the Gessler family tree. But instead of joining the chefs plopping schabowy on your table, Adam Gessler’s son, Mateusz, took a hip leap across the Wisła to a lofty post-industrial building in Praga.
Since hearing how big and great Warszawa Wschodnia was, I suggested going there to a bunch of friends. It took a little cajoling to get a cab convoy going to the Soho Factory, but I really wanted to see what the buzz was about. Once we made it there, we had two options: to dine in a vast interior with tables peering onto an open kitchen, or out on an island kitchen in a smaller room that looked like a bar. Since we were a group of eight, we chose the larger hall.
While waiting for the last of our group to arrive, another concept of the Gessler clan came to my mind – don’t let your guests know who is serving them. Once we figured it out and got a few appetizers of stuffed eggs and pierogis (delicious), the night of culinary exploration looked promising. After all our group showed up, we put in our orders and chatted about how puzzling it was to order beers. It seemed that if we ordered a local beer, they gave us a Heineken (saying they were out of the local beer), but if we asked for a Heineken, they gave us a Tyskie. Don’t even ask what they gave when we asked for a Tyskie.
When my dish arrived, Bryzol covered in mushrooms with potatoes and cabbage, I was smitten by the golden coat of fried goodness that sat in front of me. But I fell out of love after the first kiss: the meat had the consistency of a pulled hamstring, while the grease made me think that it was soaking in warm oil all day until the pan fried. Gross! And to top it off, the cabbage was just a cold sałatka nestled between the fried nightmare and undercooked potatoes. Taking into account the name of the restaurant and the neon sign outside, the only difference between this and a train station is a train station probably serves better food. – Kevin Demaria