A Romanian friend of mine took us out to the Romanian Garden on Tuesday night, where we enjoyed a great meal, although sadly some of the Romanian specialties he wanted us to try where not available on that particular day. I head the weekends are the best time to go here (it was almost empty when we went). Currently located on Skillman between 46th and 47th streets, the restaurant is reportedly moving to a cheaper location (although still in Sunnyside) within a few months.
The seating area inside extends very far into the back. There is a skylight in the rear section, and when it started raining outside, a leak made water drip down into the dining area! That was certainly a unique dining experience, as the water was pouring down literally about two feet away from our table. The surprised waitress put a tablecloth underneath the leak, but otherwise didn’t acknowledge it or offer to move us to a different table.
Unfortunately the restaurant’s menu is not available online, and my memory is not good enough to remember all the Romanian names of these dishes. This appetizer is essentially a type of polenta, although on the salty/savory side as opposed to sweet. It’s topped with two big lumps of sour cream, and was quite good – both on its own and with bread.
The two main appetizer spreads available were eggplant-based, and this red-pepper based one. It was quite good, and meant to be eaten with bread (which is conveniently provided on the side).
The entrees are quite large, and we ended up sharing 2 amongst four people; with the appetizers, it was plenty of food. I don’t have the exact prices, but the entrees are generally in the $15 range. Each comes with a choice of side – in this case, french fries (baked potato, cabbage, and vegetables are also available). The fish was high quality, and as you can see is served with its skin intact.
This standard chicken cutlet was good, but not spectacular. I wish there were a few more things on the plate in addition to the symbolic green leafs and the one side (cabbage in this case), but I think this is pretty standard for eastern European cuisine.
We shared this $4 pickled platter on the side. Ironically, the pickled tomatoes and peppers were better than the pickles themselves (they weren’t even all that sour, and it seemed like they just took them out of some store-bought jar).
We intended to get some traditional Romanian dessert, described by my friend as some sort of jelly-filled dough balls, but unfortunately they were not available. So instead we opted for these strawberry and apricot crepes, which were actually very delicious!