Open W-F 12-8; Sa 12-9; Su 12-7
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Updated December 2015. The Polish community of North Trenton is one the last remaining, strong European ethnic communities in town. Centered on the intersection of Olden and Brunswick Avenues, there’s a vibrant (if not fully thriving) Polish community that supports a number of fascinating establishments, especially Rozmaryn.
Rozmaryn is the successor to a restaurant called Julian’s, purchased from the previous owner. The new owner, Joann, has changed the name to Rozmaryn (Polish for the herb, Rosemary), upgraded the interior, created a website, and generally spruced the place up, but it’s so similar, I’ve updated the Julian’s listing rather than scrapping it. Keep in mind that some of the older comments refer to Julian’s.
This is the real deal. The owner, who usually waits on you, speaks English quite fluently, but most of the customers will be conversing in Polish. Clientèle seem to be a mixture of locals: families and factory workers. The latter use Rozmaryn as a place for home-cooking away from home. Many are here temporarily, sending dollars back to their families still living in Europe.
The food is classic eastern European fare with an emphasis on meat, potatoes, and cabbage, although chicken, fish, and a variety of vegetable dishes are also on the menu.The pork loin schnitzel (header image) is excellent: boneless, pounded thin, expertly breaded and fried, topped by an egg. There are several varieties of perogy (Polish ravioli) stuffed with cheese, ground meat, cabbage, or mushroom & sauerkraut. The home-prepared cabbage salads are fresh and tangy. Potato pancakes to die for. Check out the “Gypsy Special” which is a goulash slathered between two halves of a fabulously crispy potato pancake (See picture. I had to take a bite out of the lower left corner before photographing it!). The many vegetarian options make the restaurant “Veggie Friendly”; about half the vegetarian items are suitable for vegans, so we’ve rate things “Vegan Friendly” as well. Vegetarians will want to sample the cold salads: white cabbage, red cabbage, beets, and cucumbers, and well as the vegetarian perogies.
Portions are ample. Prices are reasonable, though not bargain-basement. The interior decor is pleasant if basic, and the owner is charming. Keep in mind that Rozmaryn closes early: 8 PM on weeknights. That means you really need to show up by 7. I would urge you to call before trying to show up any later: if it’s a slow night, Rozmaryn has been known to close early.
However, if you can get there early enough, you’ll enjoy another wonderful ethnic meal from hidden Trenton.