We liked Potts Deli and Grille a lot the last time we were there, years ago, and now that it’s moved into a larger, brighter space, we like it even more.
The surroundings have changed, but the family continues to make, cook and serve its traditional Polish cuisine, from the well-known golomki and pierogi to the lesser-known zrazy and czarnina.
We didn’t try the czarnina – duck’s blood soup – but made a clean sweep of the rest of them.
If you prefer non-Polish food, there is plenty to choose from here. The menu includes sandwiches (from grilled marinated eggplant with asiago cheese, basil mayo and sliced tomato for just $3.95 to a chipotle steak or corned beef and slaw sandwich for $7), wraps, cold subs, burgers, chicken (fingers, sandwiches and dinners), beef sandwiches, including weck and dinners.
The most expensive dinner is the Polish platter ($13.95), which contains all the Polish specialities on the menu including the golomki, zrazy, smoked kielbasa, sweet-and-sour cabbage and a choice of pierogi. But there are plenty of dinners hovering around the $7 to $9 range, including liver and onions ($6.95), boneless grilled chicken ($8.50) and roast beef ($8.50). A special value is the baked half-chicken dinner ($5.95). All dinners come with fries or homemade mashed potatoes, vegetable and rye bread and butter.
It’s not listed as an appetizer, but we split an order of three pierogi as a starter. The pierogi, at $3 each (three for $8.25), aren’t cheap, but they are worth every penny, from the tender, fresh dough to the delicious fillings.
There are four varieties of pierogi – potato, cheese, sauerkraut and baked potato. We went with the first three traditional flavors and all were excellent. They were fried until golden, and we ordered them served with sauteed onions. It’s easy to see why these are award winners.
Our dinners followed almost immediately, the hot ones served steaming hot.
The centerpiece of the golomki dinner ($8) was a pair of the traditional cabbage rolls, stuffed with lean ground beef and pork mixed with rice, nicely spiced and covered with tomato sauce. The cabbage was cooked until soft without being mushy, and the filling was juicy and flavorful. The cabbage roll went well with a pile of homemade mashed potatoes. The vegetable of the day was a mixture, which contained good-sized florets of broccoli and cauliflower, also were cooked gently.
The smoked Polish sausage dinner ($7) was built around two segments of smoked sausage that had been slow-simmered, then sliced lengthwise and grilled. The sausage was bursting with flavor and perfectly set off by the serving of sauerkraut, which also had been browned on the grill, and a pile of french fries, served right out of the fryer.
Last time we visited Potts, we were introduced to zrazy, and we ordered it again by pointing at it on the menu. “The z’s are silent,” our server said. We were not disappointed. The dish ($9) is made with thin, meltingly tender slices of nicely flavored beef wrapped around stuffing, then roasted while being basted in pan gravy. The two beef rolls on this plate were satisfying and succulent, especially with the side of mashed spuds topped with gravy.
Finally, a pick from the non-Polish side of the menu. The breast of turkey special sandwich ($6) was made of thick slices of turkey carved off the bone, then topped with slightly melted provolone, roasted red peppers and basil-accented mayo on a tender ciabatta roll. Turkey can be bland, but the peppers and basil mayo amped up the flavor. A side of potato salad ($1.75) was fresh, easy on the mayo and served with bits of chopped red onion. Like every other dish we had here, it was exceptional.
Potts Deli and Grille
Where: 41 S. Rossler Ave., Cheektowaga (826-6575)
Hours: Open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays.