Looking for a Pierogi?

By Jane Van Ingen

It may be true that the East Village is not the Ukranian enclave it once was. Leshkos, a diner on Avenue A that served pierogis and other traditional fare, recently closed. Other delicatessens selling pierogis have closed.

But downtown residents don’t need to hop on the Q train and go to Brighton Beach in order to get this wonderful delicacy. Listed below are some options, ranked in order from good to better to best.

First, there’s Odessa, located at 119 Avenue A near St. Marks Place, a diner that offers American, Italian and Eastern European dishes. Their pierogis can be filled with potato, sweet potato, cheese, sauerkraut and mushroom, meat, spinach, or, for $5.50, a combination of one or more choices. All dishes come with seven pierogis and none cost more than $5.50. Try the combination to get the most bang for your buck. The food is tasty and the wait staff leaves you alone.

A little to the west is Theresa’s, which is actually an upscale Polish diner. There’s one location on 1st Avenue and 6th Street, across the street from McDonald’s, and another one in Brooklyn Heights. Both locations have the same menu of American classics like burgers and Polish dishes such as potato pancakes. Pierogis come with a choice of mushroom with sauerkraut, meat, potato or cheese filling at $3.95 for a half-order of four pieces and $4.95 for a full order of seven. All choices come with a side order of sauerkraut, which adds a little zest to the food, and can be broiled or fried.

The restaurant at both locations is always packed.

Second Avenue has two classic Ukranian hot spots. Kiev, located on 2nd Avenue and 7th Street, features an all-day breakfast. Their pierogi choices are meat, potato, cheese, sauerkraut and spinach. A half-order is $4.25 and a full order is $7.50.

The restaurant is small and rectangular, with wooden floors and chairs and a bar near the front. The service is quick and friendly, and they make you feel at home. The pierogis come with small tubs of apple sauce, sauerkraut and sour cream. A garnish of tomato and parsley on the side of the plate is the perfect touch. Try the fried spinach ones — they’re little pockets full of flavor with a crispy edge.

The top of the line though is Veselka. The restaurant has received publicity from Time Out New York, New York Press and Citysearch, but there is a refreshing lack of pretension. Located on the corner of 9th Street and 2nd Avenue, it’s a large space where you can sit outside, sit at one of the booths and watch the chefs cook or get take-out.

For $4.25 for a half-order or $6.75 for a full order, pierogis can be filled with potato, sweet potato, cheese, spinach and cheese, meat or sauerkraut and mushroom. For a dollar more, try one of their special pierogis that are stuffed with goat cheese and arugala, sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus or, for a summertime treat, blueberries. They are equally delicious boiled or fried. The sour cream and applesauce are extra.

All of the restaurants are open 7 days a week and are open late.