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Czerwone Jabluszko (Red Apple)

View Map3121 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 588-5781
Fax: (773) 588-3975
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Editorial Review of Czerwone Jabluszko (Red Apple)

If you go to the Red Apple, go hungry. The two-room buffet brimming with Polish food leaves no chance of eating in moderation. Between the ten salads, most of which owe their creamy texture to mayo, you could get your fill without ever tasting an entree. Don't miss the kidney bean salad with crunchy celery and red onion or the corn and rice salad. Red Apple attempts to be vegetarian-friendly, even offering mushroom gravy with rice for an entree, but there's no escaping the spread of meat prepared in countless ways. Try the juicy and subtly spicy Polish sausage with a fork full of sauerkraut or take a stab at the carve-your-own turkey and beef station. Skip the basil chicken and any other meats with a grease-laden sauce.

The buffet continues into a hallway, where you'll find the best offerings. There you can grab a fresh plate and fill it with pierogis and dumplings. The cheese pierogis are delectably creamy and stuffed to the max. The meat version, however, doesn't impress. Instead of filling up on lackluster crepes, take extras of the sweet apple and savory potato pancakes, which are perfectly crisped and piping hot. All this food comes at a bargainó$7.49 during the week and $8.49 on weekends.

The sign outside reads Zerwone Jabluszko or "red apple," but if you don't speak Polish, the five-foot fruit painting will signal you're in the right place. The main room stocks back-to-back booths filled mostly with Poland natives who live in the neighborhood. Beyond the fake hanging plants, random pottery pieces and cheesy chandeliers, there's no ambience; who wants distraction from this kind of food anyway? The room also features a small bar serving Okocim beer on tap and a seemingly out-of-place flat screen TV. There's a small case filled with flaky pastries, but if you have room for one, you took the "go hungry" advice a bit too seriously.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Dana Kavan

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11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday

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