Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hospoda NYC ... Restaurant Review

I have first seen the Bohemian National Hall (BNH) in NYC during my first trip to US back in 2005 when we flew in to race in the Team Racing World Championships held in Newport, Rhode Island (New York Yacht Club ... the America's Cup first organizer). Back in 2005 it was in ruins and the big renovation began. Since then the BNH became a beautiful cultural and business center of Bohemian (Czech & Slovak) community in NYC and US in general.

In spring 2011 we flew in for the traditional ball which also held opening of the new restaurant on the ground floor called Hospoda (meaning pub in the Czech slang). The restaurant belongs to Ambiente restaurants - Mr. Karpíšek is very successfull with all his restaurants in Prague, so it was interesting to see how he would do in the though competition of NYC restaurant scene. To give you complete info, the BNH is on Upper East Side - 73rd between 1st & 2nd.

Now after coming from Chicago we stopped by to have a nice friendly dinner with Mr. Joseph Balaz, the president of Bohemian Benevolent and Literary Association. Mr. President as we call him is great character who has been present at the Bohemian National Hall since the beginning and helps it keep lively and with great atmosphere. So how is the new Hospoda in autumn 2014? The sub-title is Bohemian Beer Hall (obviously nice play with words paralel with Bohemian National Hall).

Great! As always there is delicious exceptionally well kept and treated Czech premium beer Pilsner Urquell, but there are several other ones and the new menu is simple, typical and affordable. It is themed around Czech specials that are not easy to find anywehere else: the main theme are sausages that are made in Hospoda's kitchen, there are different meat options and styles to be served or you can make your own. From other traditional main courses there is goulash (beef stew), schnitzel, cheese fired in breadcrumbs with french fries (oh those home made french fries!) and beef tartare with "topinky" (fried bread - very typical Czech way to eat tartare, it is also differently spiced from the French beef tartar).

You can also have a burger, cheeseburger or vegetarian mushroom burger ... gotta keep those Americans happy if they don't want to try something typically Czech. For starters there would be some pickles, beer cheese, smaller version of tartare and I don't remember what else :) For sides you can choose the fries, mashed potatoes or bread, some of the sausages come with typical sauerkraut (pickled cabbage). There are also daily specials, during our visit there was leek soup with lamb sausage and selection of sausages with cabbage and mashed potatoes.

What we had?

The staff was very friendly and spoke Czech :) They accomodated greatly our tasting desires, so we mixed and matched a little. We shared selection of sausages and also the cheeseburger, fries and cabbage as the sides. Home made mayo and / or sauce tartar for the fries - YUM!

As if it was not enough we had the small portion of beef tartar with "topinky" and just tiny degustation portion of goulash. Both amazingly delicious! As you know I am usually staying paleo or gluten free, but since it was my after-marathon week, I was taking it easier on myself (even though that means not feeling that well in the morning). I firstly tasted the beef tartar on its own without the fired bread. It was delicious, not made in meat processor, but scraped with a knife as it should be! Yet when I have put it on the fried bread and finishe with little salt on top, it was to die for! My mouth is watering as I am typing this now. Simply amazing! If you were to taste one thing and don't mind the raw meat, go for it!

When you visit NYC or if you are local and interested in trying something new (unless you are Czech), try Hospoda! Czech beer is the best in the world and they also newly installed to huge HD TV screens, so I am assuming it will be great to come with friends in order to watch some sports, ice-hockey world championship... 

PS: I wrote and posted this blog post on the board of Delta flight from NYC to San Francisco. How cool is that? Totally worth the crazy expensive 10 USD for 30 mins of connection :o Being little nerd, I had to try this :D Another blog post is ready for when I land, my connection time is almost up now :(


  1. Wow! this sounds great! I have to stop there next time in NYC.... Thanks for sharing!!
    btw. for Flight connections - I prepare my text in word and then post them when I have connection - so I can post much more articles in those limited 30 minutes :) Just a idea...

    1. Definitely worth stopping by (and let me know, I will hook you up with special treatment :) ). Good idea on the flight thing! I need to get myself more organised :D I end up playing games and then I am "overdue" with the blog posts :(

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