I visited the 6474 N. Milwaukee Ave. location of Red Apple Buffet (Czerwone Jabluszko in Polish) recently and can’t wait to go back.
My ethnic heritage is 100% Polish and I’m a professional chef specializing in gourmet and Eastern European food so I should know good Polish food, right? Right. And Red Apple delivers. Not only is the food authentic, it’s hot, replenished frequently and presented attractively in a pristine environment. Let me regale you with just a few of the, I think it’s safe to say, hundreds of items offered.
The soup offerings on a Thursday (they vary daily) were chicken noodle (rosól z kluski) and barley soup (krupnik). My partner complained that there was no actual chicken in her soup but I was eminently happy with the barley soup. So much so, I bought a quart to go ($7.99).
OK, so if you’re a salad eater, there are traditional green lettuce salad fixings (sałata) in the American style plus Polish cooked and raw vegetable salads (sałatka and surówka). There’s applesauce and sour cream for the potato pancakes (placki ziemniaczane), pickled beets and so much more.
On to the big guns — strawberry pierogi and meat-filled pierogi, potato dumplings (kopytka), REAL mashed potatoes, filled crepes (naleśniki),
The meat and fish offerings are equally amazing — stuffed cabbage (gołąbki), Polish hamburgers in gravy (kotlety), meat roulades (zrazy), roast chicken, fried chicken, chicken cutlets (kotlet z kurczaka), sausage (kiełbasa), baked fish, pork stew and so much more.
Did I forget to mention noodles with cabbage, sauerkraut, beets many ways, fresh veggies and … oh, just go, already. You won’t be disappointed.
Desserts were not my favorite part of the meal, but they do have a nice selection, including Polish foldovers (kołaczki), Polish cheesecake (sernik) and other simple cakes (some topped with flavored gelatin, which is very common in Poland) and Bundts. Apple cake (placek z jabłka) and other Polish desserts appear on alternate days. Not into gluten? The fresh fruit display is gorgeous.
Go hungry. The weekly buffet price is $11.99, beverages not included (although refills are free), and this is a cash-only operation. Never fear, there’s an ATM machine in the bar area.
Amenities include a full bar, parking lot (tiny), private-party accommodation, friendly, fast service, and cheery, bright ambiance.
On the weekend, you can expect a carving station with beef and ham, duck, whole salmon and much more. I’d be there as soon s they open (11 a.m.) so you can get a spot in the parking lot. But, there’s always street parking. Just get yourself there. You don’t have to be Polish to like the good food Red Apple Buffet offers.
Red Apple Buffet
6474 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60646, 773-763-3407
3121 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60608, 773-588-5781
Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily