I’ve been in the area a few times at night, and noticed Tri-City Food (616 3rd Ave, Watervliet, NY), with signange about discount food. I was luckily there when they were open on Saturday. I found the whole place to be a bit underwhelming. It was a deli on one side, and an order form in an office for other foods plus a few specials on a board on the other side. For the most part the foods were bulk, processed, or both. There were some veggies, but overall it seemed kind of like a Deli Warehouse, only smaller, with less fresh produce, and in Watervliet. To their credit, their items were incredibly cheap, just not something I would find myself buying – pork spareribs, 6 packs of frozen pizza, hot pockets, stuff like that.
But I also saw the Old Polish Deli (600 3rd Ave, Watervliet, NY. 518-326-0943) and was pleasantly surprised with what they had to offer. It was a small store, and had about the space of a small convenience store. There was a deli case with a few meats and cheeses in it, some dry goods, pickles and jarred goods, and a small fridge section.
The owner working was very friendly, and I overherd him talking about his golumbki to two other customers with such pride. He said that he made them himself, with good all natural beef, rice, cabbage leaves, and his own tomato sauce. I know all natural is kind of a toss-out word now, but hey, it made me think that he wasn’t buying from the Tri-City Foods down the road. And besides, when I hear someone with so much pride about something they make and describe it so lovingly, well… I have to try it. I got two for $5 ($2.50 each), and they were quite large.
I also got some smoked swiss ($7.95 per lb) which is super awesome. I think Swiss cheese is kind of bland normally, but oh man does smoking up the flavor profile. Oh, and some pierogies that I haven’t tried yet.
Albany John has made golumbki (golumpki?) before, and… well, I was not a fan of this food before. But I figured that he would like trying them, which is why I got two. And dudes, they were so good that even I liked them. (Sorry Albany John, but your golumbki were no match for these)
They were very large, and just the right texture. The cabbage was soft and pliable without getting that gross farty, soggy cabbage thing going on when they get cooked too much, which is only a little better than when they aren’t cooked enough and are too crunchy. But this cabbage was great. The rice and beef were also tender. I think Albany John didn’t cook his rice long enough, because these were fat little grains of rice, not too much or too little, and full of flavor. Not just white rice mixed in with some ground beef. Overall, it was lots of beefy, meaty flavor, and the grind was just coarse enough that rice and beef melded together.
The sauce was also a knock-out, too. Tart and tangy, it went so well to offset the heaviness of the golumbki itself. What might look like a lot of sauce in a container turns out to be just the right amount to have each bite slathered with tomato sauce.
They are closed Monday and Tuesday, but open Wednesday through Sunday. I forget the hours, but if I can remember to scan their menu in, I will. There was some crazy awesome looking plate deal that was $7.50 for 2 golumbki, pierogies, some meat, and rye bread.