The map of Moldova, hanging in the cafe-like front of the restaurant, was almost comical in its lack of context. Only through diligent inspection (and some head-twisting, to read text set down at several different angles) did I confirm that the country is bordered by Ukraine to the north, east, and south, and by Romania to the west.
With neighbors like those, it's no surprise that Russian (and probably Ukrainian, too) can be heard throughout the dining rooms, and that mamaliga can be found on almost every table.
As is common in Romanian restaurants, the Moldavian version of this golden corn porridge was firm enough to hold its shape. My appetizer (above, $5.99) was served with the typical salty cheese and sour cream as well as chunks of deep-fried pork belly. During an exploratory visit one midafternoon, this dish alone was quite filling.
Also shown, in roughly the order they appeared at a later group dinner: veal tongue ($6.99) with horseradish; muraturi ($9.99), a plate of assorted pickles, watermelon among them; carnaciori ($8.99) grilled kilbasi with peas and onions; ursuleti ($6.99) fried mamaliga balls stuffed with feta, bacon, and sour cream; dunarea ($10.99), daikon, cucumber, avocado, and "roasted spicy shrimps"; ficatei de pui ($9.99), fried chicken livers, served with mamaliga; a dessert sampler including a baked apple and a baked pear stuffed with nuts and honey ($5.99 each), blini with sour cherries and cream ($6.99), and, best, stuffed dried plums ($6.99) with nuts, wine sauce, and cream; one last dessert, placinte cu boston ($3.99) baked pastries filled with pumpkin.
A few other savory dishes are not shown. In presentation and flavor, my dining buddies concurred, some repetition was apparent. Still more mamaliga was involved.
1827 Coney Island Ave. (Ave. N-Ave. O), Midwood, Brooklyn