Even if you live in downtown Raleigh, you can go by Seaboard Station and never really notice it. This small shopping plaza set off of Peace Street has been growing steadily and has one of the best Eastern European restaurants in the Triangle, J. Betski’s! A bit Polish, a bit German, J. Betski’s really does a fine job taking traditional cuisine and freshening it up for the 21st century. We’re talking about hearty, stick to your ribs meals that may be meat-heavy but all-over delicious. Located next to Phydeaux, J. Betski’s is an unassuming restaurant but wait till you step in! And leave the lederhosen at home…
Inside J. Betski’s small dining space you’ll find dark woods, polished granite bar and European stained glass, a classic interior. But the decor is light and airy here, especially if you sit out on the covered patio! Seating is a bit tight so don’t expect an intimate experience but one where you’re in good company with other food lovers. The menu is pretty small and influenced by regional flavors and favorites like pork, beets, sauerkraut, dill, fennel and mustard. A little bit different from what I usually eat but I’ve dined here several times and have never been anything but satisfied.
For lunch, J. Betski’s does great sausage ranging from house-made kielbasa to bratwurst. The knockwurst is a plump, high-quality sausage topped with cabbage, onions and was served with German potato salad: thin slices of potato in a light vinegary marinade. Their pierogies are to die for at J. Betski’s! Small, tender dumplings stuffed with cheese and lightly pan-fried to give ’em a bit of texture and chew, delicious stuff. And I recently tried their schnitzel sandwich, a thin, fried pork cutlet on a crusty bun along with a cucumber salad, a refreshing combo.
When the lights go down, J. Betski’s really shines. The dinner menu is a lot bigger and of course, a bit more expensive. They offer hearty pub plates, which would be perfect at the bar for a quick bite. I tried out a crispy pork belly with sauerkraut and ginger mustard sauce. The large piece of rich pork belly was devoured quickly and was covered in a light marinade. And the signature dinner here at J. Betski’s? A pork shank braised in curry with stewed apple and cabbage, atop some of those delicious pierogies. Wow, the meat was fork tender and a monster-sized shank. The pork and sinew for this meal makes it a flavor and texture sensation, fantastic! And while J. Betski’s also serves great desserts, I haven’t made it there yet. But do take advantage of their wonderful German beers and lagers, they always have some high-quality imports on tap.
And in addition to the great food, J. Betski’s totally shines with their service. Prompt, attentive and courteous, the staff here is very professional and knows their stuff. Which is why outside of the tight table spacing, J. Betski’s makes for a great date spot. Great food, great surroundings, excellent beer and service, you really can’t go wrong here. While German-Polish food may not be on your short list for dinner, make an effort to get over to Seaboard and give J. Betski’s a whirl. Whether you’re talking about lunch on the flower-covered patio, a beer and pub plates at the bar or a cozy dinner, J. Betski’s will deliver the goods and some of the best pierogies around. So guten apetit and good night!