This past Tuesday, six members of my family and I had a late lunch at Jozsa Corner
. Our appointment was for 2:00PM, but since it was snowing that day and we were unfamiliar with the neighborhood, we left early and arrived at 1:30PM.
Here is the outside of Jozsa Corner
Not much to look at, but it sure looks like Roadfood!
The fact that the sign outside says Traditional and Improvisational Creative cooking clues you in that this isn't your typical place.
Since we were so early, the owner/host/chef Alex Bodnar was not quite ready for us. He led us back to the small dining room, where we would be sitting. He turned on the heat and for the first few minutes, people had to keep their coats on until the place warmed up.
The dining room has two long tables and is set up for family dining. There are a few paintings that Alex did himself, which impressed my artistic mother.
All kinds of Hungarian bric-a-brac can be found laying about and on the shelves.
To kill time waiting for the food, my nephew Andrew played the piano, while his twin looked on.
I knew I would like this place when I could hear our host Alex singing in the kitchen to the songs my nephew was playing.
Just in case you haven't read the newspaper review, this is not a typical sit down restaurant. There is no menu. Our chef Alex never informed us what was coming and just kept bringing food out. Everything is served family style, which was fine, since I was there with my family! And since he doesn't have a dishwasher, you will be using paper plates and spoons.
There was red cabbage on the table waiting for us when we got there, so we went ahead and dug in.
My brother, who is a terrific cook, said it reminded him more of a vinegary cole slaw than the usual red cabbage you see in restaurants. It also had onion and a strong flavor of horseradish. Great start to the meal!
An appetizer plate was next.
As you can see, there is cheeses, carrots and celery. The interesting items were the cracklins and the stuffed grape leaves. The latter item
was stuffed with a meat mixture. My brother and I both said that this was our least favorite food we tasted, but my sister absolutely loved them. The highly seasoned cracklins were positively addictive.
Accompanying the appetizers was the langos
or Hungarian fire bread.
I thought this would mean that the bread would be spicy hot, but that was not the case. The bread tasted like it just came out of the oven and was topped by garlic salt and what we think was parmesan cheese. For those of you familiar with New Mexico food, it sure reminded me of sopaipillas. I was wishing I had some honey to go with it.
Next out was the beef guylas
This strong flavored, hearty dish with incredibly tender meat, had just about everyone swooning. It was at this point that we knew we were in for something special. Both my mother and sister said this was their favorite dish. Here is my sister Vicki doing the ladling.
Next came the lecso rice
A meatless dish, there were some tomatoes and I believe some peppers also. This was another dish we all approved of.
I had been hoping for haluska
and my wish was granted, because that was next.
A simple dish made with just cabbage, noodles and onions, this version was especially buttery. Despite not knowing how much more food was coming and knowing I needed to pace myself, I couldn't help but have two big bowls of this wonderful item. Quite simply the best halushka
I have ever had.
Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Alex brought a wooden board containing some fine looking bread and another dish.
The bread was a braided bread, covered with poppyseeds and it was piping hot. The dish contained the Transylvanian gulyas
. You know you are having a great day when you get served two different types of goulash! Because this dish was loaded with wonderful pork and sauerkraut,
I enjoyed this dish even more than the previous beef goulash.
By this point, we were all getting very full. The twins, who were feeling under the weather anyway, had laid down on the couch to nap.
The next two items came out at the same time. There was the chicken paprikas
and the cucumber salad.
I assume that meant they are supposed to be eaten together. Both of these were fine dishes and I really liked the tender chicken in the paprikas, but we were all full at this point.
Since the occasion was for my mother's birthday, Alex was singing happy birthday when he brought out the dessert.
Here he is setting the plate and a candle in front of my mother.
The dessert itself was more of the langos
, covered with powdered sugar, prunes, craisins and chocolate chips.
Now that the cooking and eating was done, we had time to pose for some photos.
From left to right: me, my 91 year old grandmother Marybelle, Alex, my brother Frank and my nephew Alex.
Before we left, my mother bought a big pan of frozen stuffed cabbage to take home. The meals were $15.00 per person, which is a tremendous bargain considering the quality and quantity.
I can't begin to tell you what a wonderful experience this was for us. Alex Bodnar did a fantastic job of entertaining us with stories, discussing recipes and restaurants and still kept the great food coming. Most importantly, my mother had one of her most memorable birthdays ever.
As soon as they got in the car, the twins passed out!