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Review: Andrzej Grill and Restaurant

By Minna A in Food on Jun 24, 2011 8:20PM

Under a decaying wooden sign, bright yellow letters on a window front call out to passing pedestrians proclaiming “homemade Polish food.” Andrzej Grill is a true hole-in-the-wall “find”. This tiny space serves big bold dishes of popular Polish items alongside some lesser known homemade Polish favorites.

Chicago is not without its fair share of Polish restaurants, but Andrzej sets itself apart with its cozy setting and homey feel. The restaurant has been owned, operated, managed by couple Andrzej and Anna Burak for more than sixteen years. This quaint BYOB is like stepping into someone’s home, where diners are quickly ushered into the small space with a menu in both English and Polish, and large plates of plentiful pierogi and meaty portions take over each table.

Andrzej claims to make Chicago’s best pierogi, with flavors that include potato and cheese, meat, blueberry, sauerkraut and sweet cheese. Potato and cheese and meat pierogi fill your stomach and soul with nostalgia, while the tangy blueberry pierogi's bold and mildly bitter flavor awakens your taste buds and bring you back to reality. Andrzej Grill also makes their own kompot, or homemade fruit juice, which tastes subtly like cranberries with a touch of honey without being overly sweet.

Entrees, mostly made of pork, consist of large meaty portions with equally large sides of potato pancakes or dumplings which come with their own sides of sauerkraut and tangy beets. From peppery meatballs and sausages, to savory veal short ribs and paprika chicken, no entrée disappoints hungry diners. Diners wishing to try all the different dishes without breaking the bank can do so here, since each menu item costs less than $8.

While meat dishes and the oily pierogis and potato pancakes may be stars of the menu, the real highlight of Andrzej is their wide variety of soup concoctions. Each day has its own dedicated soup, from the familiar bean and mushroom soups, to pickled soup with Ukrainian borsch (a beet and cabbage soup with Ukrainian origins). In summer months diners get a special treat, as Andrzej introduces summer soup back onto the menu. While the pinkish color may scare some, this soup made of beets, sour cream, a hard boiled-egg and pickle is a unique chilly treat.

Andrzej Grill is located at 1022 N. Western.