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DINERS DISH: Cafe Poland, a small place with big flavor

"An excellent repast I am eager to repeat"
 
COLUMBIA, 1/28/13 (Review) -- I've had many friends of Polish descent, and at their tables I discovered and learned to relish the pierogie.   So when I saw the "Open Soon" sign at Cafe Poland on 807 Locust Street in Columbia, my tongue did a cartwheel in anticipation.

I visited on a cold, bright day in early January, less than a week after it opened. A cozy, crowded room of people (roughly 20-25) happily set about lunching at around 12:30. The room was clean and bright and a little loud, but in a welcoming way. A curious bar for extra seating curves through the space, helping maximize usable area. No one was at the counter ahead of me, and I took a moment to survey the menu board.

I could have opted f or a Polish-styled pork chop with an intriguing description. The galobki (stuffed cabbage) also looked and smelled marvelous, and I will be returning for them soon. 

Ultimately I caved in to my inner kid and ordered a plate of six pierogies (unleavened dough dumplings) stuffed with cheese and potato for $7.50, and a small black coffee (Ethiopian simona).  Other pierogie choices include beef and pork, or mushrooms and sauerkraut.
 
The pierogies were indeed reminiscent of my Polish-American friends growing up -- soft and savory, smothered in onions, with a little dab of sou r cream on the side. I also had them in about 4 minutes -- a true lunch rush! The coffee was a good solid cup, flavored and a little bold. My only misgiving was that the staff seemed indifferent and a bit preoccupied. Then again, it was their first week in business.
 
In all, my Cafe Poland lunch was an excellent repast I am eager to repeat.
 
-- Our Mystery Reviewer

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