This is what it means when you hear the term "rib-sticking food." It is starchy, beefy and porky and served in abundance with no apologies at Eastern European stalwarts like the Bohemian Crystal in Westmont. There may be similarities with other cuisines, but at its core, it's Czech.
"We do have similar food. German, Polish...but it's Bohemian. But very similar," said Barbara Prochazka, a manager at Bohemian Crystal.
The clearest example of this is in the Moravian platter: a cornucopia of roast duck, smoked pork butt, meatloaf, fried veal cutlets, "grandma style" pork and sauerkraut. If you're on cholesterol meds, better up the dose.
"It's served with dumplings most of the time. Sauerkraut...it does feed a lot of people. But it's a taste of everything," she said.
Like the immigrants who settled here, the soups are hearty, usually made from potatoes. Speaking of starches, the potato pancakes are fried in a deep pool of hot oil, fried until crispy then saddled up next to smoked pork butt and pork tenderloin. Tenderloin can also be pounded thin, dipped in flour and eggs then fried as well, making it into a schnitzel of sorts.
"The Bohemian way is served with potato salad. The most popular way to serve breaded pork tenderloin, but everybody orders the way they like it," said Prochazka.
How about roast beef that's just buried beneath a warm, thick blanket of sour cream-laced gravy paired up with bread dumplings that will fill every possible cavity of any remaining stomach space you might have left.
"It just fills you up, warms you up for winter," she said.
Another hearty option from the Czech Republic: liver dumpling soup. Bohemian Crystal is huge - they have banquet space and host lots of private parties. They're closed on Mondays.
639 Blackhawk Dr., Westmont