Sokolowski's University Inn
Cleveland, Ohio       Date of Visit: 11/06/10   

We have been trying to get to Sokolowski’s University Inn for some time now. We have even driven to Cleveland to eat there without checking the hours and ended up finding other great Tremont destinations like Fat Cats and A Cookie & A Cupcake when we would have had to wait five hours for Sokolowski’s. Well, my brother is in town and this place should be right in his wheel house with their ethnic Polish and Eastern European fare, so we checked the hours and made the dash to be at the front door when they opened for Saturday dinner. We weren’t the only ones waiting at the door there had to be at least 50 folks watching the sign change from closed to open and in we went. Perched above the Cuyahoga River (no it’s not smoking) with an industrial view of the city Sokolowski’s has the worn feeling of a local landmark in dark woods and signed pictures of local, national, and international celebrities of today and years long gone. Fun so far.


A Look At The City Over The Cuyahoga

Served from a steam table and sort of run through the chutes like cattle we got to the cafeteria style line and found rows of desserts, a drink station and then the hotel pans of hot goodies. The service is a little haphazard and brusque, which I’m sure we contributed to trying to figure out how to order. Again we entered the land of gluttony and ordered a cabbage roll which comes with two sides, the breaded walleye also with two sides and eight pierogies. We also snagged a couple of rolls and a plate for the salad bar, all included. The rolls were as dense as a roll can get and it there just wasn’t any finishing them given what was sitting on the table. The salad bar is pretty meager and I think we were the only patrons to actually get some lettuce, we were obviously newbies…with these plates you don’t need any extra food, trust me. The cabbage roll and pierogies you get served from the line but the fish is done ala minute and brought to the table. We left the polka music being played at the serving line and found ourselves being serenaded by Tom "Mr. T at the Keys" Ballog playing standards like Over the Rainbow and Tomorrow, Tomorrow on the piano. My brother serenaded us with his own lyrics. Old World Karaoke.   
Some Mistakes from the Salad Bar


The Cabbage Roll Dinner, beware the actual Bread Roll
You could hurt someone with it.

Look at This Monster, But Oh, So GOOD!


The cabbage roll is the size of a small football and has a roughly 95:5 meat to cabbage ratio. The meat is tender and full of moisture and the roll is covered in a tomato based sauce. Delicious. The mash is homemade and the kraut is a little sweeter than I am used to but is a great compliment to the rest of the plate. The walleye (gotta love a place using local fish) was fresh and flaky and coated in a thick and crunchy layer of breading. Absolutely delectable and the brown gravy on the mash was every bit as good as the tomato based sauce.

Can You Believe they Give You This Much Fish???

Super Lemony Pie

Feeling Like Violet Beauregarde
  Sokolowski’s is known for their pierogi and there is a reason why. Soft doughy pillows stuffed with more starchy potato and bathing in butter and onion, they are spectacular. To be honest however, I don’t know that they were any better than the cabbage roll or the fish, everything outside of the salad bar and the stone-like dinner roll was top-notch. I can’t wait to go back and try the kielbasa or the bratwurst.

Again a lack of foresight resulted in two pieces of pie on the table when I already felt like Violet Beauregarde in Charlie in the Chocolate Factory after chewing the experimental gum and blowing up into a blueberry (except I had blown up into a cabbage roll). Guess what kind of pie I had chosen…yep, blueberry. The filling was fruity and sweet although the crust could have been less mealy and a little more flavorful. The lemon meringue was also very good. We will definitely return to the University Inn, next time I will try to order with more care…although it won’t be easy.

Sokolowski's Bread and Butter and Butter and Butter




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