I was visiting Warsaw and Poland for the first time. I was there for a conference at the National Museum. After a day of seminars, about 10 of us repaired to a wine bar on Nowy Swiat. As our numbers dwindled, I asked if I might take the remaining two out to dinner, but… I said, I had a request… that we would eat good and typical Polish food. The curator of Italian Old Master paintings suggested U Kucharzy.
She said that they had an “open kitchen” and that I would see what she meant. We arrived and were seated in the “gallery” that overlooked the kitchen on benches that had a board that looked down in tiered seating directly into the preparations of the food. The kitchen was a bee hive of activity. We ordered beer and vodka, steak tartare, braised beef ribs and pickled beets. The tartare was among the very best I have ever had: prepared in front of us by being hand chopped, the quality and care really showed. So three meals, 6 drinks, cost 230.50PL. Was that a lot for three? About $20.00 each before tip. Now to that tipping thing, Poland hasn’t quite figured it out. There was no evidence that it was included in the bill, but I asked anyway. They said service was not included. But when I paid in cash, I had a little trouble getting change. They apparently thought that since I had asked, that the balance of the cash would be the tip. Finally I got the change and left that and a bit more as a tip.
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