For the past few years I have passed by the Romanian restaurant Nelly’s Saloon’s, at 3256 N. Elston, modest exterior with the best of intentions saying, “I need to try this restaurant sometime.” I finally followed through with that statement, and now my only question is “why didn’t I come here sooner?”
I stopped by with a friend on a quiet Thursday evening. We were greeted in Romanian and invited to select a table. Though the cafe is located at 3256 N Elston, the ambiance suggests the cafe would be just as at home in Romania. In speaking with Nelly, the kindly and stylish owner and operator of 30 years, we learned we had missed the earlier rush. An important Romanian football (soccer) match played during the day, and the restaurant was filled with fans who had come for the food and to watch the game on the large flatscreen T.V. Almost every Saturday is reserved for private parties and special events.
The hot tea we ordered was an unexpected delight. It comes pre-sweetned with lemon and other flavors. We ordered the pork goulash ($10) and the fish in cornmeal ($13). Dishes come with choice of fries, polenta, or mashed potatoes. The pork was tender enough that it almost fell apart by looking at it, and the fish maintained a crispness beneath the sauce served with it. Both entrees were excellent, but I think I would come again just for the bread. Baked fresh in house, the soft country loaf was cut in thick slices, and I couldn’t help but eat more of it than I intended.
If you are looking for a new authentically ethnic experience in Avondale, then visit Nelly’s Saloon.