Dave’s View: So Andrea and I go to Taste of Europe on West 96th Street. Inside my head, my brain is working overtime. My left brain says, “Isn’t West 96th Street an industrial park area?” My right brain, replies, “It certainly is!” My left cortex and my right cortex were battling against each other when I was driving to the place. Dodging and weaving in between semi trucks just to get to the place. My right brain is going, “Where in Hell is this place?” My left brain goes, “Don’t hit the semi truck in front of you, look for the typical restaurant set up. It can’t be that hard! It’s just a restaurant, just find it. It should have a parking lot and a big sign.” My right brain states, “Hey dumbass, you just passed it!” So we turn around and I see a concrete warehouse with an attached house??? Strange. Where’s the parking? Oh, there’s three parking spaces only. I could park further back, but I think my car might get crushed by a forklift by a company that sells decks. Yes, I said decks, as is what is located on the back of most houses in Indiana. So now I’m looking for a parking space and all three parking spaces are occupied, so I decided to park off the side of the drive.
We walk up to the restaurant that looks like your neighbor’s front porch. We opened the front door and I’m hit with the European version of a candy shop. Names of candy that have some familiarity, but you can’t figure out what American candy it looks like. Weird-ass names you can’t pronounce, but you wish you could, so you can look intelligent. When you walk to the right you see sausage inside freezers and other European commodities that you can not pronounce. So, by now, you may be asking me, “Dave, you’re describing a grocery store.” Well, yes, I am, but when you walk further towards the back of the restaurant/grocery store, you’ll enter the dining room. It’s about ten feet. Andrea and I sit down, and a patron looks at us and states, “You have to order at the counter.”
So remember, if you go here, order at the counter. There’s no sign. We stand at the counter and an old gentleman comes up and hands us plates with sausage and cheese. He states, “It will be a second.” We eat our cheese and sausage and I wander around the place looking at European names on products in the grocery section that I can not pronounce. Seconds turn into minutes. Minutes turn into more minutes and finally we get to order. I ordered this:
Hungarian Medley. What is it? I don’t know. I’ve never had Hungarian food. I have nothing to compare it to. So, I’ll just describe it to you. It has a slight spicy kick to it. It has beef and smoky sausage in it followed by bits of zucchini, onion, carrots, and peppers. All of this, is placed on a bed of pasta. Quite tasty and since, I think, this is the only Hungarian restaurant in the area, everybody should try this dish. A true food adventure!
While you are eating this dish, you get to sit in what I call, “The 1977 church basement dining room.” That’s what this room reminds me off. The only thing is, it’s not located in a basement. In fact, you can exit the room and probably dine on the retention pond facing the concrete warehouse wall and have a good laugh. All the while eating some fantastic food.
The service here is slow. Why? It’s ran by one person. He’ll take your order. Run into a dark room in the back and 15 minutes later your food will come out. All the while, you’ll be thinking, “What is in the dark, dark, dark room he comes out of. Looks mysterious and scary.”
It’s only excellent food. Don’t be afraid…Though the pronunciation of the candy will scare you.
Service: 6.5 Food: 9 Ambiance: 8.5 Total: 24 out of 30
$25-$30 without adult beverages. They do not serve adult beverages.
Andrea’s View: Taste of Europe is located on West 96th Street. Okay, I know where that is, it should be right next to Thai Papaya. Only it’s not. It sits on the other side of Michigan Road completely hidden by industrial buildings and factories. Dave and I drove past it once and almost a second time. When we walked in, we were still lost. I really did feel like I was back in Europe. There is a small section at the front of the business that is set up like a grocery store, and a dining room in the back. Dave and I walked back to the dining room and just sat down. A very nice gentleman asked if we had ordered at the counter, and we replied, “No, are we supposed to?” He said yes. We followed him up to the counter and waited for him and his friend to pay for their lunches. As we were waiting, the owner/cook/server/cashier gave Dave and I some cheese and sausage to snack on. He knew that it would be awhile before he got to Dave and I. He had to cash out the nice gentleman (this gentleman even told me what I should order for lunch), finish preparing dishes for other customers, serve the other customers, and then take our orders. But we didn’t mind, because he gave us snacks.
When it was finally our turn, I took the nice gentleman’s advice and ordered the paprikash. Dave ordered the hungarian medley and the owner/cook/server/cashier asked if it would be okay if both dishes were on the spicy side. We gave him a thumbs up, and sat down in the dining room. I had no idea what paprikash was, so I was pleasantly surprised when a big bowl of yellow stew and four mini loaves of bread appeared before me. The yellow stew had chicken, cabbage, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, and celery. It was delicious, but not as spicy as I had been promised. I was expecting more of an Indian style heat. In fact, there was no heat at all, its was just very flavorful. The mini loaves of bread came in handy to soak up the extra broth. I really enjoyed my yellow paprikash. I never would have ordered it if not for the mysterious gentleman, I would have settled for a goulash. Not that the goulash wouldn’t have been good too, I’m sure its fantastic. I urge everyone to check out this odd little building on the northwest side of town. You may get a little lost, and you may have to wait for service, but at least you can wait with cheese and sausage.