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March 16, 2009

Where to find good Polish kielbasa and gefilte fish

Anyone have some suggestions for Mary?

Hi Mrs. Large:

    I receive your blog in the mail each week and get a big kick out of the dining section.  Would it be possible if you could give me a few hits (places within the baltimore metropolitan area)  on where we [could get] good Polish Kielbasa and Gefilte Fish.  Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


When she says she receives it in the mail each week, all I can think is that she gets SunPlus and our Top 10 lists.

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:45 PM | | Comments (33)


Ostrowski's on Washington St., undoubtedly. Is there any other place for kielbasa? I dont think so.

you get kielbasa at Ostrowski's on Washington St. (not the one on Bank St.)

Ostrowski's for Kielbasa for sure. The Gefilte, maybe Attman's or the Deli in Mt. Washington. Don't know the name.

My guess is that you wouldn't find those two items in the same place.

FYI-Just had lunch at the Oregon Grille and heard that the chef was fired Saturday evening and replaced by the sous chef.

For fresh kielbasa I second Ostrowki's on Washington St. Be warned, though. If you go there the week before Easter there will be lines out the door onto the sidewalk.

For cured sausages, Sophia's in Broadway Market (south end of the north building) has a great variety of them.

Ostrowski's is good, middle quality kielbasa. It isn't the real stuff, but I don't know where to get that around here.

I was also a bit put off by a homophobic comment, out of the blue, by the guy at the counter the last time I was there.

Lissa, I think I may have seen a sign at Sophia's the other day saying something about fresh Polish sausage. If so, you may want to check it out.

On the other hand, I may have hallucinated the whole thing.

Thanks, Hal. I might wander over that way.

I got really spoiled by a place in one of the worst ghettos in Detroit that has been there for 3 or 4 generations. They make the most amazing kielbasas. I haven't had any others that were close, except for one long retired butcher.

I prefer the fresh and smoked kilebasa from the Krakus Deli at 1737 Fleet St. Made from fresh tenderloin. smoked there. To me as good as Hamtramck and the South Side of Chicago's offerings.

Apparently working with sausages all day leads some to homophobia.

I think the best gefilte fish I've had in Baltimore that is not homemade is Maneschevitz Gold or Rokeach. I "doctor up" my gefilte fish by putting it into a baking dish with onions and carrots and lots of pepper and baking it til the carrots are soft. My family likes to eat it hot right out of the oven. My parents and siblings eat it cold.

RoCk, you are an evil man! Laughing

RoCK missed out on comment of the week last week. I think he has another contender for this week.

Is Sophia's the name of the place in the Broadway Market?? I've always enjoyed their stuff, especially the variety of sausages. They have all the kinds of pierogi that my family made (sauerkraut, lekvar and farmers cheese).

I can get Ostrowski's in local markets. At Easter my family always served two sausages, one boiled and one smoked. I will still typically get two and smoke one (about four hours on my little electric smoker).

Interestingly, the smoked kielbasa at Whole Foods is incredibly low in fat (if the label is to be believed) and very tasty. It's our go-to product when a recipe calls for smoked sausage.

(And thanks to EL for letting a good Polish boy feel like he has something to contribute today!)

I can get Ostrowski's in local markets.

The stuff in local markets is from the other Ostrowski's, the one on bank street. It's not bad stuff, though. Ironically, I really like their hot Italian sausage.

I eat smoked kielbasa a good bit, but I've never been sure what to do with the fresh stuff (not knowingly having any Poles in the family tree). Can some of you more knowledgable types suggest what might be a traditional or tasty way to prepare them?

According to an article in the Sun awhile back there are two Ostrowski's sausage companies. One that sells only at their store and another that sells to markets, including Wegman's. I buy the sausage at Wegman's and really enjoy it.

Yeah, I think RoCK should get CoW for that one. Even if I can't think of one printable response.

I have an handwritten recipe from Ms Ostrowski from the 70's which is, to me, the closest that matches the the taste of the dish served at Dombrowski's (sp?) Polish Village at Lombard and Ann in the early 70's.

I'll scan it and send to Ms Large if requested.

I need the recipe for their sour beef!

LEC, I'd love to see that recipe.

I live 3 or 4 blocks from Lombard and Ann. I wonder which corner Dombrowski's Polish Village was on? The southwest corner has had Lombard Hardware for ages. The southeast corner has had the Peruvian restaurant whose name escapes me for while now, but I don''t remember what was there before. For some reason I'm drawing a total blank for the north side of the intersection.

There is a Polish deli/market on the corner of Eastern Ave and El Rino (near the Bayview campus) that has several varieties of sausages and what we would call "hot dogs". The first time I went there, I asked the owner to educate me on "polish sausage". She laughed and said "there is no such thing in Poland" and directed me to a Hunter's Sausage (which was delicious) and several other types (equally delicious).

Hal, was that Nasu Blanca?

Hal, was that Nasu Blanca?

If you're asking if the Peruvian restaurant at Lombard and Ann is Nasu Blanca, no. I looked up the name, and it's El Rinconcito Peruano.

Nasu Blanca was in South Baltimore.

Rincinto? Something like that is the name of the Peruvian place. I keep meaning to get over and try it.

LEC, Please send the recipe.

Sorry if I sent this already. I get distracted easily.

I sent the scanned recipe to Ms EL for distribution.

Lissa's comment made me think that very often what we believe is the best is what we were initially exposed to or our memories of that. For hot dogs I think of Maple Leaf dogs in the 1950's Massachusetts. They were natural casing and great over an open fire. Snap! Crunch!

To me, curry is the flavor of the spices from SS Pierce that my grandmother and mother used to use when I was growing up. My son's mother in law who is of Indian heritage uses a curry spice blend different from that but I encountered Indian women shopping in an exotic grocery that picked the same blend that I like. ( All have told me that they never make their own blend anymore).

My brother's Polish in laws from Pittsburgh don't relish the fresh sausage from Ostrowski's Washington St. because they seem to like the smoked version which I would not tend to try.

The same is true for galumpkis or cabbage rolls; or nay other family based recipe.

Hal, the Polish Village was locate on the SE corner of Lombard and Ann. It was a long time business in the area that had a great lunch buffet of sour beef, polish sausage and sauerkraut, baked chicken, etc. and a huge cold cut/ salad offering for some ridiculously low price I think on Thursdays. I remember when I first went there in the early 70's a draft beer was $.25.

The original proprietors, from what I heard, retired and turned the business over to the kids and within several years it was dead. It was a formstone building partially enclosed by the sidewalk ascending Lombard.

LEC, I'm with you on natural casing hot dogs. Without the snap, they just aren't right.

A wiener without snap is like, uh, never mind.

Thanks to Hal for the info on two Ostrowskis. I didn't know, though on reflection I do recall seeing the Banks Street ID on a label.

I have been deep in reverie trying to remember the where's and when's of smoked versus fresh in my Polish family. I think that the fresh showed up more at breakfast/brunch meals while the smoked was more often found mixed in dishes and for dinner. My father clearly had a preference for the fresh, while I hardly ever eat it anymore, favoring the smoked.

I typed in the Polish sausage recipe from LEC. Here it is:

Polish Sausage

  • (1) large can of sauerkraut or package of fresh sauerkraut
  • (1) large cut-up onion
  • (1) or (2) lbs of fresh sausage (cut into small links)
  • Coarse black ground pepper (to suit taste)
  • Caraway seed (to suit taste)
  • Brown sugar (to suit taste)
  • Water (about 3/4" to 1" in pan)

Blanch sauerkraut with cold water in strainer (just to get rid of strong sour taste). Place in small roasting pan. Add cut up onion. Sprinkle some black pepper and caraway seed over sauerkraut. Add 1/4 or 1/2 cup brown sugar and sprinkle over sauerkraut. Add water, about 3/4" or 1" in pan. Place sausage over top of sauerkraut. Cover pan and bake at 350 or 375 degrees for 3/4 to one hour in oven. Enjoy!

Fresh sausage was usually cooked this way in my house. Poke a million holes in the casing. Drop in a frying pan of already boiling water, just to cover. Simmer until all the water was gone and the sausage started to fry in the pan. Turn often until the thing was nicely browned. Serve with fried potatoes.

Robert of Cross Keys -- you gave me the best laugh I've had all day!

My Polish Market is the place on Eastern near Bayview. They have great, fresh sausages. I like biwakova, I think it is called, and the Hunter's Sausage. Also, Krakus on Eastern closer to Broadway has lots of Polish meats.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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