Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury

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Ketteract
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2016/05/09 11:47:32 (permalink)

Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury

I'd taken note of this place from the Roadfood entry, and this weekend I finally made it out to what is ostensibly the last remaining Hungarian restaurant in Connecticut.  I'd heard it described as a gem, a time-capsule, a throwback... all those words are like candy to any Roadfooder.
 
I came in on a rainy Saturday afternoon and was the only customer.  The proprietor was chatting with a friend at the bar, and when I walked in, asked if he could help me - I guess I looked a little lost.  I said simply that I was hoping to get some food... and it was all warm fuzzies from there.  The lights were off, so I took a seat by the window to get as much light as possible on this gloomy day.  As it turned out, this was the perfect setting for what I was about to eat.
 

 
The whole menu was enticing, but I had my eye on two particular things for this first visit: the stuffed cabbage and the Transylvanian goulash.  ("Good choice, my friend," said the guy at the bar.)  I was pretty sure I'd never had a proper goulash, but I liked every ingredient that was listed for this one.  After a few minutes, my pleasant host brought out the stuffed cabbage - topped with sour cream, something I hadn't seen done before - and a basket of some very attractive-looking bread. 
 

 
I promptly plunged my knife and fork into the cabbage, whose spiced filling of meat and rice hooked me right away; the sour cream, in addition to pairing well with it, ended up enriching the broth, turning it into a creamy delight that I was more than happy to sop up with the bread.  The BREAD.  Crusty on the outside, pillow-soft on the inside, prizeworthy in itself.  I mentioned it to Mr. Azcel, who replied: "It's a Portuguese bread, the same one I've been using for 39 years.  99% of people like it."  
 

 
I then waited for my main course, sipping my coffee and already feeling quite content, watching the drizzle outside.  
 

 
No other customers came in during that time, which surprised me a bit given this place's eminent reputation, but in fact I was glad for the quiet and the solitude.  Presently the goulash arrived, along with a second helping of bread that I'd requested (it was vital that I get every last bit of broth).  Tender chunks of pork, soft spaetzle-like dumplings, addictive sauerkraut, topped with a dollop of sour cream.  
 

 
 As I dug in, it registered that I was eating the very definition of comfort food, a hearty, warming, old-fashioned dish, served in an old-fashioned establishment by an old-fashioned fellow, enjoyed in the face of inclement weather.  And I had the place all to myself.  
 

 
You'd think I would have proceeded slowly, savoring every bite, but I have a bad habit of going too fast once I decide I like what I'm eating.  I turned down a refill on my coffee, patting my stomach.  "Take your time!" he said.  I will next time, and there will absolutely be a next time.  Goulash Place is the archetype of a small, local, cherished place, a piece of history sealed up in a house, an enduring expression of the couple that started it and now a tenacious one-man operation.  It gives off a wonderful (though surely illusory) feeling of permanence, and the food alone rockets it to the top tier of Connecticut restaurants.
 

 
If you live in the state and you've never been here, go ASAP... if you're planning a trip, make sure it's included in your stops!
 
 
#1

7 Replies Related Threads

    mar52
    Porterhouse
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/09 12:18:54 (permalink)
    Nice report and I love your writing style.
     
    Good thing I live on the wrong coast or I'd be there this week.
     
    Now...  did I toss, donate or box my spaeztle maker?  Not that it's really needed but it makes the process fun.
    #2
    Ketteract
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/09 15:07:45 (permalink)
    Thanks! I can't say enough good things about this place. It's one of the Roadfoodiest establishments I've ever seen, and I was impressed enough with both the food and the atmosphere that I'd give it a high place on any visitor's list.
    post edited by Ketteract - 2016/05/09 17:44:45
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/09 15:24:11 (permalink)
    Thanks for the great report Ketteract!  Glad to read Goulash Place is still going strong.
     
    My first visit 15 years ago or so was one of my most memorable Roadfood meals.  Magda was such a fun, interesting character and hostess.  Unfortunately, my second visit just a few years ago was poor and I was afraid they had gone downhill.  After reading this, I will give them another chance.
    #4
    wanderingjew
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/09 16:06:09 (permalink)
    buffetbuster
    Thanks for the great report Ketteract!  Glad to read Goulash Place is still going strong.
     
    My first visit 15 years ago or so was one of my most memorable Roadfood meals.  Magda was such a fun, interesting character and hostess.  Unfortunately, my second visit just a few years ago was poor and I was afraid they had gone downhill.  After reading this, I will give them another chance.




    I was with you on that visit.
     
    We may be returning in a couple of weeks on the way back from my nephew's graduation at SUNY Binghamton. Sandra has never visited Goulash Place and since she is 1/4 Hungarian, she is curious.
    #5
    Ketteract
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/09 17:24:22 (permalink)
    buffetbuster
     
    Unfortunately, my second visit just a few years ago was poor and I was afraid they had gone downhill.  




    That's unfortunate to hear.  What went wrong with your second visit?  I guess any place can vary over time, especially a place that's being run by literally one guy, but I was so pleased when I went there...
    #6
    joerogo
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/09 19:05:01 (permalink)
    Thanks for the reminder to try this place!
    #7
    bartl
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    Re: Finally made it to Goulash Place in Danbury 2016/05/16 15:16:45 (permalink)
    I visited this place years ago, before they had navigators. It was VERY hard to find, but worth it once we got there.
     
    Bart
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