Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Just Like Mother's

Forest Hills, NY
718-544-3294

Review by Diana, MaceVindaloo

A long, long time ago, or so it now seems, there was a restaurant called Theresa's, which served the greatest Polish food, ever. They didn't bother spiffing it up or making it glam. They put chocolate in the babka sometimes, but that's about swelegant as they ever got. No, their best dishes contained lots of potato and fat and kasha. Their "vegetable" list included the kasha, sauerkraut, potatoes (boiled or mashed), fries, peas, red cabbage, etc. Very Central Europe, but they were good at what they did and they even had daily specials for $10, including small pierogy plate or potato pancakes, a main dish like Chicken Kiev or perhaps calve's liver or stuffed cabbage, and a dessert like a slice of babka, and a glass of wine for under $10.

So why isn't this review about Theresa's? Because two awful things happened to that wondrous place: first, a bomb scare on a busy Saturday caused people to walk out on half-eaten food without paying. When the all-clear was given, the people didn't come back and Theresa's lost tons of money. Then there was a huge kitchen fire and even though they might have salvaged stuff and started over, the owner of the building said, "No more food places in my building!" The bastard. So they closed, and we've been mourning it ever since.

But then we were walking on the other side of Forest Hills on Queens Blvd, near the only Catholic church in a Jewish neighborhood, and to our surprise, something smelled familiar. Was it tripe soup??? My very favorite Polish treat? And were those spinach pierogies on that plate?? And white borscht with crisp-sizzled slices of kielbasa???

Yes! We can't confirm that these are the same owners, but the staff is off-the-boat Polish, and the food here is so much the same as it was at Theresa's ... it can't be a coincidence?? At the very least, Just Like Mother's is doing a homage of sorts to that original place.

We ordered way too much, forgetting the portion sizes. In fact, the only thing smaller than it was in my addled memory was the soup. I should have ordered TWO tripes. Blintzes came twelve inches long instead of the tiny, dainty finger-sized morsels we normally get at Jewish dairy meals (be sure to ask for no powdered sugar, or you'll suffer sweet shock!), silver dollar pancakes must be big in Poland, the kasha was fluffy, the pierogies were perfect little pillows.

The clientele is largely Polish people, young and old. There are always big groups of elderly ladies who count out their portion of the check down to the cent, and who are grumpy about the food but eat everything and try to get a "smidgen" more for free. There are also young dating couples who speak Polish to one another. The waitresses are cute, too.

We're so glad we have a place to hurt ourselves, gastronomically again! For $35, we had enough food to last all day and breakfast the next, too. There are not daily specials anymore, unfortunately, but heck, for kielbasa and golumpky and pierogy this good, who cares? Just Like Mother's is almost exactly like Theresa's, and that's way good enough for the likes of us!


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