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Goulash Place

42 Highland Ave., Danbury, CT - (203) 744-1971
Posted By Michael Stern on 11/19/2009 10:56:00 AM
A hard-to-find restaurant in a mostly residential neighborhood, the Goulash Place is a treasure-trove of Eastern European gastronomy not far from Interstate 84. John and Magda Aczel lived upstairs in the back of their little Hungarian café, which they operated for a quarter century. Although Magdi passed away a few years ago, you will likely meet John, or at least see him when the kitchen door swings open. He is the chef.

Made-from-scratch specialties include three kinds of goulash, including our personal favorite -- Transylvanian, which is velvety hunks of pork adrift in sauerkraut. Other favorites include chicken paprikash, roast pork, and stuffed cabbage. It is a dilemma choosing side dishes, for Mr. Aczel's mashed potatoes are chunky, soulful spuds served with a bit of gravy from whatever they accompany; on the other hand, there are always nockerli, which are little hand-fashioned dumpling squiggles in a butter sauce that go so well with paprikash. With any meal, it is essential to fork into a bowl of traditional Hungarian cucumber salad – a refreshingly pickly tastebud-refresher.

Start with a bowl of wondrously aromatic chicken soup and finish with palascinke -- tender crepes wrapped around apricot and chopped-nut filling. From soup to nuts, this superb food is presented with Old-World charm so genuine that sometimes you feel that you are dining not in a restaurant, but at the home of a favorite relative.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Transylvanian Goulash
Hungarian Goulash
Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Paprikash
Wiener Schnitzel
Sampler Plate
Stuffed Cabbage
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Transylvanian goulash is pork-perfect, slightly sweet, slightly sour, gigantically satisfying.
"Transylvanian goulash is pork-perfect, slightly sweet, slightly sour, gigantically satisfying."
Michael Stern





We weren't going to have an appetizer, but chef John Aczel decided we needed to try the day's chicken soup. Loaded with rough-cut vegetables, large pieces of tender chicken and threads of delicate noodle, it is one of the most delicious chicken soups we've ever spooned into.
"We weren't going to have an appetizer, but chef John Aczel decided we needed to try the day's chicken soup. Loaded with rough-cut vegetables, large pieces of tender chicken and threads of delicate noodle, it is one of the most delicious chicken soups we've ever spooned into."
Michael Stern


John Aczel cures  peppery sausages on a stick in back of the restaurant.
"John Aczel cures peppery sausages on a stick in back of the restaurant."
Michael Stern


Of the three kinds of goulash on the menu, we like Transylvanian best. It is small cubes of ridiculously tender pork laced with limp and luscious sauerkraut.
"Of the three kinds of goulash on the menu, we like Transylvanian best. It is small cubes of ridiculously tender pork laced with limp and luscious sauerkraut."
Michael Stern


At first poke, chicken paprikash slides off its bones. This is the smaller, lunch-size portion.
"At first poke, chicken paprikash slides off its bones. This is the smaller, lunch-size portion."
Michael Stern


The Goulash Place Sampler Plate is a good option for people who can't decide whether they want pork, veal, or chicken. That red cabbage in the center is especially yummy.
"The Goulash Place Sampler Plate is a good option for people who can't decide whether they want pork, veal, or chicken. That red cabbage in the center is especially yummy."
Michael Stern


Jane, who considers herself a connoisseur of wiener schnitzel, was singing hosannas to these crisp-crusted cutlets.
"Jane, who considers herself a connoisseur of wiener schnitzel, was singing hosannas to these crisp-crusted cutlets."
Michael Stern


This is an appetizer-size portion of stuffed cabbage. At $2.95 it is a giant bargain. At any price, it is delicious comfort food.
"This is an appetizer-size portion of stuffed cabbage. At $2.95 it is a giant bargain. At any price, it is delicious comfort food."
Michael Stern


Inside this nut-and-sugar-covered dumpling is a lode of soft, sweet plums.
"Inside this nut-and-sugar-covered dumpling is a lode of soft, sweet plums."
Michael Stern


For a quarter century, this sign has been a beacon of great home-cooked food at low-low prices.
"For a quarter century, this sign has been a beacon of great home-cooked food at low-low prices."
Michael Stern


Located on a quiet residential street, The Goulash Place is an isle of old-world charm.
"Located on a quiet residential street, The Goulash Place is an isle of old-world charm."
Michael Stern



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