Labas or Hello in Lithuanian.
I have been curious about Lithuanian food for about a year now and had the opportunity to go to the South Boston Lithuanian Club. It was established in 1899 and located on 368 West Broadway Street in South Boston. The Lithuanian Club has a function hall and a basement kitchen/bar serving native cuisine. Since there are a few Lithuanian restaurants or eating establishments in Boston, so the South Boston Club seems like the best place to find Lithuanian cuisine.
I would characterize my first taste of Lithuanian food as hearty meat, delicate cabbage, light beets and dense potatoes. The meal was stick to your bones and I definitely felt full, but satisfied.
There were several Lithuanian American families and Lithuanian natives who brought non-Lithuanian friends to try traditional cuisine. I felt that this was a cultural and food education experience where we even learned a few Lithuanian words such as ačiū meaning thank you.
We tried Ekstra beer. My friend told me that these double sized Lithuanian beers can also be found at the Boston Harbor Hotel for $12 each.
A snapshot of the menu includes meat crepes, potato dumplings, raviolis, beet soup, stuffed cabbage, pizza and even burgers.
The restaurant room was simple and no frills with office furniture, a cork board for events and a well stocked bar and soda refrigerator.
We started the meal with a refreshing summer borscht (saltibarsciai) with a side of chopped bacon and potatoes. The beet soup with yogurt was cooling and I was mesmerized by the shade of pastel pink.
We tried cepelinai, a potato and meat dumpling the size of a mini-football. It has a thick gnocchi-like dough that is 3/4 inch thick all around surrounding a lump of soft, flavorful pork. The cepelinai are served with a topping of bacon, a side of sour cream and a light meat gravy.
The Balandeliai or stuffed meat cabbages is flavorful meat in the delicate, stuffed cabbage. The filling had a soft meatball like texture. The dish was served with a side of potatoes, sliced bell peppers and beet slaw. The fresh lightly creamy beet slaw and peppers was great on the palate. I think the potatoes were bountiful and had a sprinkle of dill.