By Cat Wurdack
Mon – Sat / Dinner & Drinks
The culture that gave us the mazurka, the pierogi, and some of the finest potato vodka in the world helped influence the culinary stylings of Stan Pratnicki, chef-owner of Bar Dobre, a European-style eatery representing Poland with a hip, modern attitude.
Pratnicki grew up Polish from his father’s side in Masbeth, Queens. Early experiences rolling pierogi dough with his great aunt Stasia for epic Polish family dinners inspired Pratnicki to train at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York and develop his game at respected Portland eateries and purveyors Atwater’s, Taqueria Nueve and Provista, where he learned to love cured meats.
Pratnicki’s fondness for smoking and curing is well-showcased by the menu: a porkstrami reuben sandwich with bacon-fig relish; house-made liver pate, deglazed with sherry wine and finished with mascarpone cheese, and served with pickles vegetables and crostini; and scratch kielbasi accompanied with potato pancake, sauerkraut and braised greens. Pratnicki makes just about everything himself.
Pierogi, a popular gateway snack to Polish dining, is an egg-based savory doughnut stuffed with mushrooms, potatoes, leeks and farmer’s cheese. Pratnicki boils them eight minutes till they float, then tosses them in a hot pan with butter and onions, garnishing with horseradish sour cream.
It’s not possible to go home hungry. The food is hearty and generous and there’s enough variety to appeal to many tastes: stuffed cabbage rolls (golumpki) in spicy tomato sauce accented with chipotles ajiamarillo and served with mashed potatoes; a respectable half-pound burger of Piedmontese beef with gruyere and fries; and Polish-style potato pancakes – boiled not fried – with applesauce and sour cream.
Pratnicki’s wife, Kimberly, has transformed the space into a charming European-style dining room with muted colors, thoughtful lighting, dark woods, and a smorgasbord of vintage mirrors from Monticello Antiques. The center table is ideal for a single, large party or a communal table of new friends.
Bar Dobre bartender (and Pratnicki long-time BF) Christian Smith has outdone himself with a delightful, top-drawer bar program. Even if you’re not geared up for a full meal, drop in for his signature Dobre cocktails named for Polish monarchs (Boleslaw), a selection of Polish sipping-vodkas (Sobieski, Belvedere, Chopin, and Zubrokwa), and Nalewka Babuni Honey Wine as well as other hard-to-find Polish liqueurs such as Kummel and Krupnik.
At 10 pm, the late night food menu kicks in with most items (including chicken liver pate, Caesar salad, and potato pancakes) at five dollars.
A Bar Dobre grand opening is planned for Saturday, February 2. “Big Stan,” Pratnicki’s dad, is coming from Maspeth — and he’s bringing his accordion!