Wait–There’s A Hungarian Restaurant In Kilgore?
East Texas is becoming quite diverse when it comes to different "genres" of food options. I'll never stop being a fan of the traditional East Texan and Southern food we've always known and loved. At the same time, I can have a bit of an adventurous tendency when it comes to trying new flavors. A recent culinary jaunt took me and my friend to Kilgore where we discovered Brigitta's Hungarian Restaurant.
First thoughts upon pulling up: "Hungarian food in East Texas?" Also, "what even IS Hungarian food?" The answers are YES and DELICIOUS, respectively.
Not exactly knowing what to expect, we walk through the front door and are greeted by Brigitta, herself. She is, by the way, Hungarian--born in Budapest. Her husband Mike, who is half-Hungarian himself, is cooking something that smells amazing on the large stove. We immediately feel welcomed and wander over to the counter to check out the chalkboard menu before placing our order.
Although we didn't recognize all of the offerings on the menu that day, Brigitta was happy to describe those about which we inquired, even making a recommendation. We also learned that their meals are made from scratch and are actually Mike's Hungarian great grandmother's recipes.
We ordered the Chicken Paprikas and the Pork Tenderloin Schnitzel, which is served with a fried egg on top. Sound good already? It was. The meat was quite tender and both dishes tasted very fresh. Both definitely had flavor undertones that tasted new to me--which is one of the reasons we love to try different kinds of restaurants, right? :)
But you know what? In some ways, it tasted quite familiar and homey to me. Both of our choices were served on top of mashed potatoes, which I adore anytime I can find them. These Hungarian-style mashed potatoes are definitely worthy of a return trip.
A couple of other nice touches were the relaxed vibe, sparkling clean dining area, and the books around the restaurant on Hungarian and/or European culture that patrons are invited to peruse at will. There are even a few toys and crayons to keep the kids happy if you bring them. Alcohol? It's BYOB.
Unfortunately, they were out of the strudel, their signature dessert. After crying the tears of a thousand Hungarian horses, I decided this was another good reason to come back. I hear they occasionally have some Renaissance Faire-style musicians on Fridays...at least they will be when we're not dealing with Covid-19 anymore. Perhaps that will be as good a time as any.