By David Minsky
By Nicole Danna
By Sara Ventiera
By Candace West
By Emily Dabau
By Doug Fairall
By Candace West
By Laine Doss
The most appealing main course, solet, reminded me of cassoulet with duck confit, my favorite French dish. White beans were baked with pearl barley and egg to form a rich, buttery casserole. The dish is usually made with goose, but a duck leg and thigh, crisp outside and juicy inside, substituted as a garnish, adding dimension to the beans. Fantastic.
Entrees are served with chicken soup, soup of the day (in our case, a cream of vegetable, much like the sauce that dressed the venison), or cucumber salad cured in sour cream. Homemade potato bread and Liptauer, a cheese spread spiced with onions and paprika, are complimentary. By the time your party has put away a few appetizers and main courses, there isn't much room left for more. In fact our waiter, thinking we'd ordered too much food, decided not to bring out the stuffed cabbage starter we wanted. I certainly appreciate the fact that he was looking after our interests, but get real -- it's easy to take home leftovers.
We insisted he bring the dish, and though afterward we were as stuffed as the cabbage, it didn't stop the four of us from ordering a tableful of home-baked desserts. Forget the French. Austro-Hungarian sweets are some of the best in the world, as evidenced by the selection in the deli case at the restaurant's entrance. A custard-filled napoleon and Dobos torta, a caramelized layer cake named after a famous Hungarian pastry chef, were especially satisfying.
Owner Helfy ran a Hungarian specialty shop called La Paprika in Miami-Dade's Normandy Isle for four years, so it's no wonder the quality of the food is good. But this first-time restaurateur surprised me with the value of his offerings. Others apparently agree. On a weeknight the restaurant was so full we had to make a reservation.
Hungarian isn't the most common cuisine here in the States, but any Eastern European will tell you it's one of the most sophisticated. Though Goulash Charda isn't located in the so-called hip part of Hollywood, it also isn't an eatery that will disappear when the latest trends do.
Goulash Charda. 2215 N. Federal Hwy., Hollywood, 954-926-3355. Lunch and dinner daily from noon to 11 p.m.
Jewish-style chicken soup
Hungarian sampler platter