Brownifer Bites: Novak's Hungarian Restaurant - Albany, OR (A Tribute)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Novak's Hungarian Restaurant - Albany, OR (A Tribute)

This is our 100th blog post!  It's been an evolving adventure for us!  We cooked so much food, grew so many of our own delicious ingredients, canned our recipes and visited so many restaurants; we only wish we'd shared more about all of them here!  Our goal moving forward is to do just that.  Those restaurants we've written about so far:  Sweet Red Bistro, House of Noodle, Brick & Mortar Cafe, Aomatsu Sushi & Grill, Saprona Sushi, Le Pigeon, Cheese Bar, Sybaris, Cheesy Stuffed Burgers and Burger Queen.  You'll hear more from us in the future!

We've decided that our milestone blogs will be tributes (as opposed to reviews) of some well-established restaurants in the area that we all know and love.

We chose do do our first tribute to Novak's Hungarian Restaurant in Albany.  This family-owned business has been part of Albany since 1984!  Originally located on Santiam Hwy, many of us remember eating here with our parents as children.  Brownie himself grew up just down the street from this restaurant.

Novak's also spent some time in a space tucked away near what is now Marshall's across the street from Heritage Mall and has made their new home downtown on 2nd street between the stained glass store and The Still.  This new space seems like a perfect fit for them!

The idea for doing this blog came when we had a less-than-satisfying dining experience and just wanted some good coffee and dessert.  I remembered that I used to go to Novak's with my daughter when we wanted just the same thing and how delicious their desserts were.  While we looked at the menu we thought:  why didn't we come here for dinner!?  So we decided to do just that!

Now Novak's doesn't need a good review, they don't even need to get their name out there - everyone knows how amazing this restaurant is.  But for those of you who may have forgotten about them with their new move or are new to town and have never been - here is your refresher course!


Karen's Exquisite Pate
We were so excited to have dinner here after feeling like we've ignored such a wonderful restaurant for too long.  We started with Karen's Exquisite Pate served with crackers and garlic toast.  This is a chicken liver pate made in-house and is incredibly delicious!  We highly recommend it!  We also had to order the Langos - a fried bread that is so soft and light that it nearly melts in your mouth.  When we were at the restaurant having dessert the night before, a table of sweet regulars to the restaurant offered to share theirs with us.  We declined, but made sure it was on our list to order when we came for dinner!  It comes with raw garlic (we cut the garlic into small pieces and ate it with bites of bread) or apricot and strawberry preserves to give you a sweet flavor - any way you eat this bread will be amazing!  Pace yourself, however, it's very filling!

For our main courses, we tried two different platters.  It was the best way to try as many  different things as possible!  Brownie ordered the Hunter's Platter that included Szekely Toltott Kaposzta (cabbage roll), Becsi Szelet (breaded beef cutlet), Parizsi Szeleet (batter dipped pork tenderloin) and papa's Kolbasz (spicy sausage) with a side of veggies.
Hunter's Platter
I chose the Shepherd's Platter with Chicken paprikas, Beef Porkolt (both of these are served over homemade spaetzle), Szekely Toltott Kaposzta and papa's Kolbasz; mine also came with a side of veggies.

Shepherd's Platter

Need I tell you that everything we tried was perfection?  No, because you know.  This family is straight from Hungary and they know their stuff!  If you're a die-hard foodie, they have a cookbook of some of their most requested recipes for sale as well!  Only $5!

We came away with a ton of leftover food, obviously.  No complaints here!  We enjoyed the dining room atmosphere before leaving, everyone bustling and chatting away.  This restaurant is always busy when we go in, we suggest making a reservation if you don't like to wait - but if you decide to drop in and there's a long wait at the door, grin and bare it - you won't be sorry!


Creme Brulee
We also wanted to share our small dessert experience with you!  So this is a second part of our Tribute Trifecta dedicated to the many desserts you can enjoy here.  We only had two - Maybe we'll bring our littles here some time and let them review some desserts for you :-)

Dobos Torta
Brownie chose the Creme Brulee (no description needed) which he said was really good; it's a favorite of his.  I decided on the Dobos Torta - Cookie style pastry layers alternated with milk chocolate cream filling, topped with a unique caramelized sugar wedge.  Twelve luscious layers in all!  And it was luscious! The cookie was soft and the cream filling wasn't too sweet - the crunch of the sugar wedge was just a fun little extra!  I enjoyed it emensely!


Cafe Budapest
The Trifecta Finale!  Now, we know there are amazing breakfast options at Novak's, after seeing the dinners we had, you can just imagine - but we were desperate to try the Beignets!  I've been to New Orleans and trying to find a good Beignet around here is not easy.  I guess you could say we opted for the light breakfast after a heavy dinner :-)

We sipped our Cafe Budapest, Novak's signature coffee, while we waited for our food (layered coffee with espresso, steamed milk, European chocolate & cinnamon syrups, topped with whipped cream and dusted  cinnamon.)  A definite MUST when having dessert or breakfast!

Beignets (bacon making an
appearance in the background)
For those of you not familiar with Beignets - these are a french-style doughnut fried to order and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They are soft and doughy to perfection and melt in your mouth!  We ordered six and took two home for later - they also can be ordered here in a baker's dozen!  The waitress suggested a side of meat with our doughnuts to counter-act the sweetness.  This was a fabulous idea!  Brownie decided on a side of bacon - which incidentally goes really well with a bite of Beignet!

So concludes our tribute to an Albany Restaurant Icon!  If you haven't visited in a while - it's time!  If you've never been - you absolutely MUST try this place and find out what you've been missing!

Happy 100th Blog and long live Novak's!

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