Polka King of the Midwest (Almost)

A few weeks ago, a new Polish restaurant opened up in metro-Detroit.  Polka, located across the street from the American Polish Cultural Center, seems worlds away upon entering the establishment.  The decorations resemble a small Polish village, with your babcia’s favorite wycinanki adorning the walls and plates.  However, despite this beautiful establishment, the wait staff ruined the experience.  They were uncommunicative, nit-picky and poor at explaining the menu items.  Unfortunately, the food did not outweigh the service, so I won’t be returning any time soon.

When my parents and I first arrived, we waited about 45 minutes for our table.  As it was a busy Friday night, this was to be expected so it was not a big turn-off until I saw how many empty tables were left unoccupied.  So naturally, I already felt a bit annoyed.  The hostess also couldn’t spell my name (it’s a Polish name…at a Polish restaurant) and I soon realized that Polka is very AMERICAN and less Polish.  Few staff members could actually speak Polish, which was disappointing to my mom, since she is from Poland and is better at communicating in her native language than English.

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Upon announcing our table was ready, the hostess brought us to a cute little partially closed off room with only 3 tables.  This would have been the perfect spot, except the tables were very close together and our neighboring tables were very loud.  I had to yell to just hear my own voice.

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The food I ordered exceeded my expectations, but my mom was not impressed with her food.  So here’s our orders went:

  1. Bread was brought to the table.  It was warm and delicious.  Extra butter was given to us because I aggressively finished it before finishing the whole bread basket.
  2. Appetizers!  My mom and I ordered mushroom soup.  SO GOOD.  And my dad got mussels, which he also raved about.
  1. Main Course!  This is when I decided not to go back to Polka.  I ordered cheese and potato pierogi with onions.  My assumption that the pierogi was stuffed with cheddar cheese and not farmers cheese (I hate farmers cheese) was very wrong.  When asked to replace it with cheddar cheese, the waitress happily grabbed my plate and put in the order for the new pierogi.  But as she was walking away and my dad mentioned he’d eat it, she said “Good because you’ll have to pay for it anyways”.  OK rude.  I wish she would’ve said that I would have to pay for it before walking away with it.  Next, my mom ordered fish (it was SUPER dry and a small portion) and veggies with fries replacing the cabbage portion of the veggie medley.  However, only fries came out (it took up 3/4 of the plate) and when asked for her veggies, the waitress said she couldn’t substitute just the cabbage and instead, she had to forgo all of the veggies.  Okay, so a classic mix-up and the waitress brought out some veggies.  Except on the bill, we were charged for the veggies too…without being warned in advance.  My dad was the only one who had a perfect meal, as he had the pierogi he wanted (he likes farmers cheese) and a tasty beet salad.

Overall the food was very good but the waitress who waited our table was very non-communicative and made assumptions about us paying for meals instead of asking us in advance if the extra payments were okay.  So next time you want to get some authentic Polish food, go to Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramck instead (or just make some homemade pierogi with me!).

xoxo Kasia

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