With cream-colored curtains generally closed to the outside world, Taste of Europe is easy to miss, but after a single meal, it is hard to forget. Owned and managed by the Shelestovsky family, Taste of Europe is one of the few places in Binghamton that serves authentic ethnic food.
The Shelestovskys provide their customers with a taste of old country Ukranian pride. With his thick Ukranian accent and eastern European warmth, Igor, the patriarch of the Shelestovsky clan, singlehandedly hosts and waits on his customers.
The décor is simple; tables are set with burgundy cloths and adorned with vases that hold two white and red roses. And because their selling point is slow-processed food made entirely from scratch and fresh ingredients in the back kitchen, there is no pressure to do anything but enjoy your meal.
While restaurant week is as good a time as any to visit the eatery, the most expensive items on the menu at any time are $10.99 plus tax.
“We don’t over charge people because we don’t need to,” Igor said.
Whether or not diners choose to have a three-course meal, Igor will keep the price at $10 a person for lunch and for dinner, as it would take many dishes to make the bill cost $20. The menu is wide enough in variety that vegetarians can rejoice and pasta eaters can substitute their carb intake with pierogies.
This is the third season Taste of Europe is participating in restaurant week and with each term, Igor Shelestovsky hopes it will bring in more business.
“We like restaurant week because more people get to know about us,” Igor said. “The first time was excellent, the second time wasn’t so great, but so far it’s been picking up well.”
Another pair of diners, two cronies born and raised in Binghamton, polished off their meal with a cup of borscht and a dollop of sour cream. “Dobre,” they said, complimenting Igor in his native tongue as he took away their dishes.
From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, the food is filling and customers appear to leave the premises satisfied.