The pierogi are great at Mom-Mom’s Kitchen. That much I already knew from Kaitlin Wines and Ryan Elmore’s food cart. And as I settled into the cozy, wood-paneled dining room at Mom-Mom’s new brick-and-mortar location in Bridesburg, the pierogi did not disappoint, the dumpling skins fulsome with pliant dairy richness yet delicate — not over-crisped and leathery — as they wrapped around a traditional filling of potatoes fluffed with farmer’s cheese beneath a sweet mop of caramelized onions.
What I didn’t know to expect were all the other Polish delights now being served from the counter at this charming little restaurant wrapped in knotty pine, which fronts one of Philly’s largest food-truck commissaries. There was the hearty bowl of pickle soup, a brothy stew with potatoes, the dilled tang of pickles and a surprisingly great side of butter-toasted rye bread from Lipkin’s in Northeast Philly. There was a roasted link of garlicky Czerw’s sausage from Port Richmond. And there were plenty of other nontraditional pierogies to tempt me, including some stuffed with cheesesteak, some with roast pork and provolone, and some blueberry pierogies for dessert served with house-churned sour cream ice cream.
But it was a soulful plate of golabki stuffed cabbage that truly had me rooted in place for a hearty lunch before returning to the late-fall chill. Mom-Mom’s stuffs their golabki with three kinds of meat — veal, beef, and pork — that get blended into a crumbly filling with onions and rice (though sometimes the starch is buckwheat groats mixed with mushrooms when the golabki go vegetarian). It was fork-tender Polish comfort at its best, with crispy roast Yukon smashed potatoes to add a little heft to what was already a great value for $11. But the sauce also caught my attention, a puree of tomato sauce from the braise that tingled with a hint of cayenne and that had the orange hue of tomatoes mixed with a little butter: “I wouldn’t call it a little butter,” Wines confessed.
I’d call it a golabki star to comfort the cold days ahead.
– Craig LaBan
Golabki stuffed cabbage, one for $6 or two for $11 (add pierogi for $5), Mom-Mom’s Kitchen, 2551 Orthodox St., 215-613-7781; on Facebook.