Kolache Mama in Midtown
The Czech Pastry Kolache Comes to NYC
The Czech pastry kolache is an Eastern European street-food staple, but it would be a mistake to think of midtown’s newish Kolache Mama as a dour place to grab a quick bite. In fact, this may just be the perkiest, pinkest new fast food spot we’ve seen since the fro-yo invasion of a couple of years ago. And with Kolache Mama’s chef’s Culinary Institute pedigree, upper management’s ambitious plan for a New York City mini-empire, and an overall commitment to environmentally-conscious “green” building, packaging and food-production practices, this humble Czech pastry might be poised for a foodie moment in 2010.
Many Varieties of the Czech Kolache
Kolache Mama’s basic kolache recipe is the same as your babicka used to make–which is maybe why the Bavarian-born Henry Kissinger was spotted grabbing a bag-full a few weeks ago?–but that’s where the similarity ends. The Kolache Mama menu covers both savory and sweet with equal enthusiasm, and while we weren’t entirely convinced when we sampled a few on our way to Grand Central Terminal a while back (the location is perfect for picking up a few snacks for the train), there is definite potential here.
Take the Kolache Mama Dorian, which is like a Rueban, but with mushrooms instead of sauerkraut. We were impressed by the fresh, juicy-ness of the corned beef here, and the grilled Portobello was nice and earthy, and the swiss and Russian dressing all worked together well. Really, our biggest concern was with the kolache itself. This is not the most flavorful of doughs, and the Dorian fixings were stacked in the center, rather than stuffed inside, so in the end there were too many too bready bites. Kolache Mam’s stuffed Jalapeno-Cheese Sausage concoction fared better: the meat was spicy, the cheese melty, the whole thing a lively tweak on the classic pig-in-a-blanket.
Finally we visited the “Sweetie Mama” section of Kolache Mama’s display case behind the counter (the layout here is dead ringer for Dunkin Donuts, minus anyplace to sit), but although we made quick work of the gooey middle part of our Chocolate Ganache–a rich sugary pudding, garnished with chocolate chips–the dessert as a whole was undermined by the same bland breadiness than felled our Rueben. In the end, we’re filing Kolache Mama under “convenient”, and will try it again the next time we’re catching a train out of town.
Kolache Mama details
Kolache Mama is located outside the Roosevelt Hotel, on 45th Street between Vanderbilt and Madison Avenues, and is open weekdays from 7:00 a.m. (kolaches make for a easy breakfast) to 6:30 p.m., and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Take-out only. For lots more on the kolache in general and a look at the full Kolache Mama menu, click here.