Jozsa is Alexander Bodnar’s middle name. Jozsa Corner is the name of his restaurant, and it is true in a couple of respects. The restaurant is a corner building; more important, it is Alexander Jozsa Bodner’s domain. Alex, as regulars know him, is not just chef and proprietor; he also is a spellbinding raconteur whose presence is a vital part of the meal. Dinner (available only by appointment) is less like a visit to a restaurant and more like coming to a party at the home of a gregarious and welcoming host.
It is a casual party. Dishware is disposable, wine is BYOB, everything is served family style in large bowls and on platters to pass around the table. As each course comes from his kitchen, Alex is there to let you know what it is and where it fits in Hungarian cuisine. When he is not busy cooking, he might sit down at the table to join his guests and regale them with his personal history (including a dramatic escape from Hungary during the 1956 revolution), with his philosophy of food, or with philosophy in general. When the meal is done, a handshake hardly seems adequate to express thanks. This is a man I want to hug.
Beyond the glow of Alex’s radiant personality, what makes a visit to Jozsa Corner memorable is the food he cooks. The menu is a repertoire of Hungarian classics at their finest, including two kinds of goulash (beef or pork), haluska (cabbage and noodles), chicken paprikash, cucumber salad, peasant soup, palascinki (crepes) for dessert, and the fried potato flatbread known as langos. There is nothing that isn’t wonderful. My favorite dish is Transylvanian goulash, a web of sweet pork and tangy sauerkraut crowned with sour cream to create a complex flavor that leads taste buds on an exhilarating thrill ride. Haluska — a mix of cabbage, noodles, and spice — is comfort food supreme, impossible to stop eating.
Note: Monday through Friday, Jozsa Corner is open for lunch. Dinner is available by appointment only.