Home-style, and largely wholesome, comfort foods await at Julek's Polish Kitchen in Talent.
Local fans of such Eastern European specialties as kielbasa, pierogi and borscht hadn't seen much in the way of authenticity since Medford's Samovar and Talent's Chata closed nearly a decade ago. Bogusia Antczak worked at the latter restaurant but learned to cook from her aunt, who ran a traditional eatery near the Baltic Sea in northern Poland.
Opening Julek's in October, Antczak christened the place for her father, who died two years ago but loved visiting the Rogue Valley. She says she wanted to prepare healthy foods such as those common in the Poland of her childhood before convenience items changed the cuisine.
She also vowed to purchase locally grown and produced foods, organic when possible. Sauerkraut comes from Ashland's Pickled Planet, and Taylor's Sausage in Cave Junction agreed to make links from Antczak's family recipe.
Also fresh and clean are Antczak's kitchen and dining room in the strip mall near the intersection of South Highway 99 and West Valley View Road in Talent. Furniture is sleek and modern, walls largely devoid of adornment and floors buffed to a sheen. Customers can look forward to Antczak stamping the space with her personality. She says she also wants the menu to grow according to patrons' requests.
First-timers take note that popular pierogi are available as an appetizer or entree only at dinner. These delectable dumplings are bathed in butter and bread crumbs when stuffed with spinach and garlic or sauerkraut and mushrooms. Turkey bacon is the topping for potato-and-cheese or chicken pierogi.
Recommended: Chicken paté is as light an airy as the light rye from SunStone Artisan Bakery in Ashland; half head of steamed cauliflower topped with melted butter and breadcrumbs is large enough for two and surprisingly savory; borscht boasts a bounty of potatoes, carrots, celery and parsley in addition to the essential beet in lightly salted chicken broth; apple cake is fruity and not too sweet under a streusel topping.
Alternative diets: Vegetarian versions of classics such as pierogi, cabbage rolls; baked tofu and vegetarian, Polish-style baguette sandwich available for lunch; some local and organic ingredients.
Beverages: Domestic and imported, bottled beers, including Polish labels; local and other Oregon wines by the glass and bottle; caffeine-free "Polish coffee" made from roasted grains, chicory and sugar beets.
Price range: Sandwiches, $6 to $8; soups, $3 to $7; salads, $3 to $8; appetizers, $5 to $9; dinner entrees, $11 to $17; desserts, $6.
Extras: Salt shakers at each table are filled with high-end Himalayan pink salt.
Serving: Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Info: 160 N. Pacific Highway, Suite 4, Talent; 541-897-4444.