Paprika Brings Central European Fare to the Heart of the Burrito Belt
If you want a beer and a sausage, there's no place like Rosamunde. (Seriously, comb the galaxy and report back if you find something better.)
Paprika, newly open basically around the corner from Rosamunde's Mission location, is about as differently executed as the same general concept can get. Instead of spicy sausages in grilled buns with relish, onions and fries, you'll find elegantly plated arrangements (and cornichons!). Rather than boisterous crowds curing hangovers, Paprika is borderline romantic -- although a bit spartan -- with attentive service, and it's open only for dinner.
Still, this is Central European dining, and portions are hearty. (There's also a happy hour with a jukebox, so it's not entirely candlelit dinners for two.) If you want to hoist a masse -- that is, a one-liter stein -- Paprika is the spot. Krusovice and Staropramen aren't hoppy beers for connoisseurs of obscure nanobreweries based in Eugene; they are one thousand years old and meant for Czechs to wash down meat. And on that subject, don't mess around with chicken sausage or anything your proverbial Hungarian great-grandmother wouldn't recognize. Stick to the bockwurst or the superb kielbasa, quartered at either end before it's cooked and served with nutmeg-heavy mashed potatoes, or else obey the stirrings of your inner Magyar with a plate of goulash.
Pete Kane The kielbasa plate at Paprika.
Subbing gnocchi for egg noodles, Paprika's goulash benefits from the texture of the lumps against the pulled pork, with a thick red sauce. As a stew that improves after a day or two, it'll likely get even better over time -- but the kitchen hasn't been able to churn out enough to keep up. It's not the national dish of Hungary for nothing.
Paprika, 3324 24th St., 283-7941.
Follow Pete at @wannacyber