october271986 wrote:A friend who is moving out of the Wicker Park neighborhood wants to hit up Podhalanka to check the box before she goes. I think we are going to check the box on Friday night. I've been a few times - breakfast, lunch,and dinner but never seen anyone drinking. Can you bring your own booze?
We aren't going to linger and get rowdy, just a beer or so per person in a small group (4 or so).
I see some beer and wine in the pictures of the big party there but not sure if it's ok on a regular night.
Also, always wondered how the compote would taste with a shot of vodka...
Jefe wrote:It pains me to report that I had an icky experience there yesterday (the first in 10+ years of loving the place). It was the first time (that I can recall) that I wasn't served by Helena, but rather by the man that I see around there pretty regularly that I have assumed is perhaps part of the family. I brought a party of five, three of whom were new to the restaurant and from out-of-town and perhaps their noobness was clearly evident to the server. He asked if we were new to visit the restaurant and I explained that two of us were regulars but the others had not been before. He seemed gracious at first, explaining the soup choices, but then suggested that we all share each of the day's soup choices. Now firstly, I don't really like being told what to order and beyond that, I'd be damned to share a bowl of one of my favorite soups of all time, the white borsch (love sharing, but I draw the line at a bowl of soup), so I spoke up and said I'd like to order my own bowl. And then, before we had time to open our menus, he said that he would just bring out plates of their most popular items for us to share and then swiftly collected the menus. I was most likely going to order stuffed cabbage anyway and always like to steal a pierogi from a friend's plate or a bite of potato pancake and these choices were to be in the lineup. No big deal, I supposed. He brought us a pitcher of compote, which we dispatched of rapidly. He brought us a second pitcher and explained that this one was "on him". Another eyebrow raiser, since we had not ordered the first and were not led to believe that we would be paying for it (Helena never seemed to charge me in the past). Soup was great as ever. Then the mains started to arrive- stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, mixed pierogi, cheese blintzes, potato pancakes, certainly plenty of chow, a plate for each of us, but then what's this, a whole other round of the same dishes- a double order of everything! And he said, "don't worry I'll bring boxes". We did our best and ate just about the first round of plates. I knew we were being had and when the check arrived I was not surprised to find a total of over $110. We certainly got what we paid for, with four to-go boxes and about a whole other meal for each of us, but we were not really expecting to spend over $25 each on a lunch at Podhalanka. I felt like I was being treated like a tourist in my own neighborhood at a spot I have cherished and patronized countless times. So a fair warning, if this guy waits your table, be clear and firm that you would like to order on your own from the menu.
Jazzfood wrote:I believe he's a nephew and I've found him to be pushy and a bit of a con as well. He's pulled similar things on me, way way way too much food and then, even though still reasonable, more expensive than it needs to be, or ever is when Helena is there. The only bad taste that's ever been left in my mouth there is him.
Cathy2 wrote:When THE GUY came over, he was pretty slick. Just as Jefe mentioned, gave the soup options, suggested sharing and what to have. I remembered this post, though I could not recall the details beyond his being irritating.
Jefe wrote:I matter-of-factly stated to him "My friend and I are here to have a light lunch. We eat here all the time, love your food, and know exactly what we want". He got the point...
Jefe wrote:He asked if we'd been there before without listening for an answer, jumped into his spiel about the soups.
Jefe wrote:Hopefully he will remember me next time and I'd like to think that if he will know better than to f*ck with me in the future. If the rapport continues, I will gently suggest to him that his aggressive tactics are scaring away longtime customers.
... a little to quick, especially offering the "taste" which turned out to be full price of each of the "dishes", for three not two for a total tab of $50 and I'm not sure it didn't include the juices which sounded to be complimentary, ha. When he started all that, I expected that were going to happen so I wasn't surprised when the bill came. Otherwise, pretty good but I'll be prepared next time -- I think so? has an idea how to pad the tabs . . . Actually didn't mind the seasoning of my soup but could have used an explanation of what white borscht is -- I thought it always mean't beet which is beet root I'm thinking so I don't know what makes it white. Enjoyed the company and chance to visit
Elfin wrote:he charged for fruit juice/compote which was not ordered and barely consumed.What is that stuff anyway?
turkob wrote:I know there have been some less than pleasant experiences at Podhalanka lately.
Jefe wrote:It pains me to report that I had an icky experience there yesterday (the first in 10+ years of loving the place). It was the first time (that I can recall) that I wasn't served by Helena, but rather by the man that I see around there pretty regularly.
Jefe wrote:Just like any long term relationship, you have your ups and downs and in the end of the day learn to compromise. I couldn't stay mad at Podhalanka- THE GUY or no THE GUY, so I decided to get proactive with him.